The Doctrine of Sanctification: An Exegetical Examination, with Application, in Historic Baptist Perspective (part 1)

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The Doctrine of Sanctification: An Exegetical Examination, with Application, in Historic Baptist Perspective (part 1)

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The Doctrine of Sanctification: An Exegetical Examination, with Application, in Historic Baptist Perspective, to which is Appended a Historical, Exegetical, and Elenctic Evaluation of Influential Errors, Particularly the Keswick Theology

NOTE: This is a WORK IN PROGRESS. It is NOT yet completed, but the author felt it was important enough that he wanted to make it available now.

I. Summary of the Significance of Romans 6:6

II. Exegetical Justification for the Significance Assigned

A. Crucifixion with Christ Does Not Mean That Sin Is Already Utterly Destroyed In The Christian Life

B. The Ethically Sinful Portion Of The Regenerate Is Already Legally And Judicially Dead, But In Practical Sanctification What Is Legally Dead Must Still Be Put To Death, A Work That Continues Until And Is Consummated In Glorification

C. The Significance Of And Relationships Between The Old Man, The Body Of Sin, And The Flesh, How These Are To Be Mortified, And The Nature Of Mortification

D. The Nature And Means Of Vivification, The Positive Converse of Mortification

            I. The Nature of Vivification

1.) Vivification as Quickening

2.) Vivification as Growth

3.) Vivification as Building Up

4.) Vivification as Strengthening

5.) Vivification as Transformation

6.) Vivification as Perfecting

7.) Vivification as Renewal Sourced in Regeneration

II. The Prerequisites for Vivification

            1.) Be Right With God

            2.)

III. The Means of Vivification

1.) Vivification Comes By “Exercise”

E. The Body of Sin Is Indeed Destroyed, Not Merely Counteracted

F. Gradual Deliverance From The Power Of Sin Is Consistent With the Aorist Subjunctive Of “To Destroy” (katargeo) In Romans 6:6

G. How Does God Make Believers More Holy in Progressive Sanctification?

I. The Distinction Between Those Right With God And The Backslidden Believer

III. The Certainty of Practical Sanctification For All The Regenerate

            A. Scripture Clearly Teaches That All Saved People Will Be Changed

B. 1 John Teaches That All Saved People Are And Will Be Different

IV. Exegetical and Historical Excurses Relevant to Sanctification

C. Excursus I: Does Colossians 2:6-7 Teach Sanctification by Faith Alone?

D. Excursus II: Romans 7:14-25: A Depiction of Part of the Normal Christian Life

E. Excursus III: Does Galatians 2:20, Or Any Other Text of Scripture, Teach that

Christ Lives the Christian Life Instead of the Believer?

F. Excursus IV: Hebrews 3-4 As An Alleged Evidence For Perpetually Sinning Christians

G. Excursus V: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)

H. Excursus VI: Is Fallen Man’s Obligation To Obey God Limited To His Ability To Do So?

I. Excursus VII: Are All Believers Disciples?

J. Excursus VIII: What Does It Mean To Abide in Christ?

            K. Excursus IX: Regeneration and Sanctification Are Connected with the Renewal of the Whole Person, Body, Soul, and Spirit—Not with the Spirit Alone

            L. Excursus X: Hannah Whitall Smith: Higher Life Writer, Speaker on Sanctification, Developer of the Keswick Theology, Quaker Quietist and Universalist Heretic

            M. Excursus XI: An Analysis and Critique of Keswick Theology as Set Forth Particularly In So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention, by Steven Barabas

            N. Excursus XII: Do Keswick Critics Routinely Misrepresent Keswick Theology?

V. A Concluding Exhortation

VI. Classic Documents That Relate To Crucifixion With Christ And Sanctification In General

            A. 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith (1677) / Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith (1689/1720), Article 13, Of Sanctification

            B. An Orthodox Creed (1678), Article 26, Of Sanctification and Good Works

            C. “The Means Of Sanctification,” James Petigru Boyce.

            D. An Excerpt from A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, John Owen.

E. An Excerpt from The Method of Grace: How the Spirit Works, John Flavel.

F. The Nature of True Holiness Explained, John Brine

G. The Old Man Crucified, Charles H. Spurgeon.

            H. The Old And The New Man In Believers, Thomas Boston.

VII. Bibliography

I. Summary of the Significance of the Verse

            Romans 6:6 promises that the believer’s “old man,” the pre-conversion person dominated by sin, the person “in Adam,” “is crucified with” Christ. It is judicially dead, having been judicially destroyed at the time of the crucifixion of Christ. The “body of sin,” the body dominated by sin when the Christian was still unconverted, has been judicially destroyed. This destruction is associated with positional sanctification.[1] In terms of progressive sanctification, the flesh, the ethically sinful “body of sin,” has received its death blow, and its ultimate destruction at glorification is certain, as a man who is on a cross is certain of ultimate death, although he still can struggle and fight within certain limits.[2] The flesh within the believer is certain of utter destruction at death or the return of Christ, but during this life, although crucified and growing weaker, it can still influence the Christian to sin. These remnants of sin in the believer are to be mortified, put to death, to bring the legal and judicial truth and the ultimate certainty of glorification closer to practical reality in this life. This crucifixion with Christ in the believer has the result “that the body of sin might be destroyed.” This destruction, judicially completed at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, and positionally and legally declared for the believer at the moment of his regeneration, will take place ultimately at glorification, when the remnants of sin in the Christian are entirely removed, finally and completely destroyed. However, the beginnings of this utter destruction are already set in motion, even as the crucifixion of the old man with Christ, which took place legally at the time of the Savior’s own crucifixion and begins experientially in the life of the elect at the point of their regeneration, progressively removes the life and strength from the old man, the body of sin. The negative aspects of the progressive mortification of sin in this life, is the converse to the vivification, the progressive cleansing, sanctification of the believer, and growth of the new man, produced by the Triune God and especially the Holy Spirit[3] through the Scriptures. This vivification culminates in glorification,[4] when the Christian will be entirely without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26-27). Since the old man is already judicially crucified and dead, and experientially and progressively crucified and dying, on its way to certain destruction, the believer “henceforth . . . should not serve sin.” Freedom from service to sin in this life and the elimination of its reigning power (Romans 6:14) is immediately received at the moment of regeneration. Progressive deliverance from sin, the progressive destruction and progressive weakening of the strength of the old man, are the saint’s current portion, and final and ultimate deliverance from all service to sin, and the final and complete destruction of the old man in heaven are his certain inheritance. Regeneration shatters the dominance of sin in the believer and imparts a new nature, progressive sanctification brings the growth of the new nature and the progressive dying of indwelling sin, and glorification completes the work of sanctification as indwelling sin is forever extirpated and the believer enjoys perfect holiness in the presence of God. These are the purposes of God in and results of the saint’s crucifixion with Christ.

II. Exegetical Justification for the Significance Assigned

A. Crucifixion with Christ Does Not Mean That Sin is Already Utterly Destroyed in The Christian Life

Crucifixion with Christ does not mean that the motions of the sinful remnants within the saint are entirely unable to do anything anymore in practice and are already entirely destroyed.[5] The uses of “crucified with,” sustaurao (sustauro/w) in the gospels, where the word is employed of the thieves crucified with the Lord, certainly do not indicate that those crucified with Christ were already dead in practice (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32; John 19:32). A man who is literally condemned to death on a cross is legally dead, his future actual bodily death is certain, and he grows progressively weaker over time. In addition to his future death being certain, he had certain definite limitations imposed upon him from his crucifixion. His arms and legs were immobilized, and their actings were thus subscribed to a certain limited sphere, although not entirely eliminated—a man who has not been crucified can walk and act in a much wider sphere than one who is nailed to a cross. His fleshly struggles against his coming death were more violent at one time than at another, but overall through time grew progressively weaker until he finally died, although his body, his flesh, was still able to perform various actions and exert vigor until the time of its final passing.[6] So the sin within a believer is legally judged dead already, its reign is shattered, it is certain of a coming utter destruction, it is confined within certain limits beyond which it cannot pass (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:18-24),[7] and it is growing weaker as through time the believer mortifies it, but it is not yet entirely motionless or its vigor entirely eliminated.

            The verb crucify[8] is employed quite a number of times in the gospels for those who have had the sentence of death passed upon them legally, yet are not yet literally dead (Matthew 27:35, 38; 28:5; Mark 15:24, 25, 27; Luke 23:33; John 19:18, 23), just as cocrucify/crucify with is clearly employed in this sense (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:34; John 19:32). Indeed, no text in Scripture clearly makes crucify and die absolute synonyms, although crucifixion unquestionably leads to literal death, so that one who has been crucified eventually dies as a result (Matthew 20:19; 23:34; John 19:10, etc.). This, however, does not mean that the two words are identical any more than the fact that someone dies from terminal cancer means that to have cancer is a synonym with to die, or the fact that starvation leads to death means that to starve is a synonym with to die. Nor does the fact that the Christian is both crucified with Christ and dead with Christ prove the two terms are synonyms—believers are also buried with and risen with Christ, but nobody would argue that since believers are crucified with Christ and risen with Him crucified and risen are synonyms. Crucifixion brings one to the point of literal death, but only after a drawn-out and painful process of gradual dying. The metaphor of crucifixion with Christ (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20) should be interpreted in the same sense,[9] where the ultimate and final death to sin takes place with the utter destruction of the ethically sinful flesh at glorification and the gradual process of dying to sin occurs in progressive sanctification throughout life as a product of the crucifixion with Christ and legal sentence of death that took place at the moment of regeneration. That is, the believer becomes legally dead to sin at the moment of his regeneration, progressively is dying to sin throughout his life of progressive sanctification, and is ultimately and finally dead to sin at the time of his glorification. While Christians do grow more dead to sin as they grow more holy, they do not, in progressive sanctification, become more crucified—at regeneration Christians are, once and for all, crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, as the unregenerate grow more inwardly and outwardly wicked (2 Timothy 3:13),[10] the regenerate grow inwardly more holy and less sinful, and consequently act more like their sanctifying God, as their new nature is strengthened and their indwelling sin eradicated by the power of the Spirit. The gradual weakening of the body of sin and the remnants of sin in the Christian are a result of his already completed cocrucifixion.

B. The Ethically Sinful Portion Of The Regenerate Is Already Legally and Judicially Dead, But In Practical Sanctification What Is Legally Dead Must Still Be Put To Death, A Work That Continues Until And Is Consummated In Glorification

The connection between cocrucifixion (Romans 6:6) and death in Romans 6:6-11 is significant. One who is crucified is already legally dead, although he may not, in practice, yet have in every sense of the word actually physically died. So the believer is legally both crucified and dead—the saint, as identified with Christ, was crucified when Christ was crucified, died when He died, and rose when He rose from the grave. Furthermore, at the moment of regeneration, the believer died in that he was freed from the legal dominion and reigning power of sin (Romans 6:14). As a consequence, in progressive sanctification, he is to put do death or mortify more and more of the deeds of the flesh, and more and more weaken the sin principle in him by the Spirit, and more and more become holy in his nature, habits, and actions, as he is more and more renewed into the image of Christ. This progressive process is entirely completed in actuality at glorification.

The legal sentence of death, with its resultant freedom from the reign of sin, is emphasized in the use of cocrucified, sustaurao, in Galatians 2:19-21. The perfect tense of cocrucified in Galatians 2:20 emphasizes the results of the point action of crucifixion with Christ experientially received at regeneration. Judicially, the believer’s ethically sinful flesh is already destroyed and dead, having died on the cross. In the purpose of God, glorification is already a certainty for the saint as well, as is perfect conformity to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29-30). Practically in this life, progressive renewal into the image of God[11] and progressive destruction of the principle of sin in saints takes place. At the point of conversion, the believer crucifies the sinful flesh and its ways: “[T]hey that are Christ’s have crucified [estaurosan, e˙stau/rwsan, aorist active indicative] the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24), so that the believer can say that in his Christian life, “by . . . our Lord Jesus Christ . . . the world is crucified [estauromai, e˙stau/rwtai, perfect passive indicative] unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). However, while the legal sentence of death has been passed on the sinful flesh, its future actual destruction is certain, the flesh is progressively weakening on account of its crucifixion, and its actings are subscribed within certain definite limits, the flesh is still able to act in the Christian. No Christian experiences sinless perfection in this life (1 John 1:8-10).[12] The crucified flesh is, in practice, dying, but not yet absolutely destroyed. The experience of freedom from the service to sin and the destruction of the sinful flesh begins at regeneration and progresses throughout life through mortification, but does not culminate until glorification.

            The fact that Christians are “dead to sin” does not deny the gradual nature of mortification. Rather, it is the basis of it. The fundamental idea of death is separation. Spiritual death is separation from God (Ephesians 2:1-3); physical death is the separation of the body and the soul (Genesis 35:18); and the second death is the everlasting separation of the sinner from God in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). The believer, then, is dead to sin in the sense that he is separated from it; he is freed from its dominion and control on his body, will, mind, affections, soul, and spirit, free from its predominant influence, and is certain of ultimate absolute freedom from its presence. He no longer lives in the realm of sin’s power, and consequently no longer walks in sin (Colossians 3:7). The believer is already legally dead (Romans 7:4; Galatians 2:19) with Christ, and the reign of sin is replaced at regeneration by the reign of grace (Romans 6:2, 10-14). His death to sin in regeneration, however, does not mean that there is yet nothing in him that still desires sin—he must still mortify what is ethically sinful in him.[13] Even though believers “are dead” (Colossians 3:3), they still have sinful “members which are upon the earth” (3:5, 2) to which they must not yield (Romans 6:10-14). Similarly, believers are already quickened with Christ (Ephesians 2:5),[14] but they can properly pray, “quicken me” (Psalm 119:40, 88, 107), and since they are risen with Christ, they are to seek after heavenly things (Colossians 3:1). Thus, the believer, by the power of the Spirit, must continue to put to death the practices of the body of sin (Romans 8:13, thanatoute, qanatouvte, a present indicative). As Colossians 3:1-17 explains, believers are already “risen with Christ” (v. 1) (sunegerthete to Christo, sunhge÷rqhte twˆ◊ Cristwˆ◊), and “are dead” (apethanete, aÓpeqa¿nete), v. 3. They formerly “walked” (periepatesate, periepath/sate), v. 7 in sins, when, before their conversion, they “lived in them” (edzete en autois, e˙zhvte e˙n aujtoi√ß), v. 7, but now it is not so. Because they are already dead to sin, they are to “set [their] affection on things above, not on things of the earth” (ta ano phroneite, me ta epi tes ges, ta» a‡nw fronei√te, mh\ ta» e˙pi« thvß ghvß), v. 2, and “mortify [their] members which are upon the earth” (nekrosate oun ta mele humon ta epi tes ges, nekrw¿sate ou™n ta» me÷lh uJmw◊n ta» e˙pi« thvß ghvß), v. 5, that is, put to death those parts within them that still incline to the sorts of sins which they no longer live in as regenerated people (v. 5-7). Since believers are legally and judicially dead to sin, they are, by the Spirit, to put to death or mortify the remnants of the sin principle in them (Colossians 3:5) and its outward manifestations (Romans 8:13).   At the moment of repentance, faith, and regeneration, they “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9) and “put on the new man” (v. 10). They are therefore daily to “put off” sins like anger, wrath, and malice (Colossians 3:8), as their “new man” is gradually “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (v. 10; note the present participle, the progressive action of the new man being renewed, in ton neon, ton anakainoumenon eis epignosin kat eikona tou ktisantos auton, to\n ne÷on,to\n aÓnakainou/menon ei˙ß e˙pi÷gnwsin kat∆ ei˙ko/na touv kti÷santoß aujto/n). Ephesians 4 expresses similar truth to Colossians 3—since believers have already “learned Christ . . . have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus,” they are to in practice “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of [their] mind; and . . . put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24). The only noteworthy difference is that Colossians 3:9-10 indicates that the old man was put off and the new man put on at regeneration, while Ephesians 4:20-24 speaks of practically putting off the old man and putting on the new man in the Christian life. This practical putting off/putting on, a consequence of the end of the dominance of the old man in Adam, union with Christ, and putting on of the new man in regeneration, appears as saints put away lying and put on truth (Ephesians 4:25), put away stealing and put on useful labor (4:28), put away corrupt communication and put on edifying speech (4:29), put away bitterness, wrath, anger, and such like sins, and put on kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness (4:31-32). This progressive putting off and putting on is how sin is mortified and the believer is renewed more and more into the moral image of Christ.

As the Spirit works to lead believers to will[15] and do of God’s good pleasure (Philippians 2:13),[16] they become more conformed to Christ in their practical death to sin (Philippians 3:10), more conformed to Christ in positive inward holiness (Galatians 4:19), and more conformed to Christ in their progressive restoration into the moral image of God, the “divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), into which they are transformed as they grow in experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:3), knowledge which leads them to abound in all holy practices, godliness, virtue, and love (2 Peter 1:5-8). Christians are new men, new in body, soul, and spirit, all of which are progressively sanctified[17] and are certain of complete transformation at glorification. Their entire persons are being sanctified now (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; cf. the practical outworkings of this inward transformation in vv. 16-22) as the Lord makes them increase and abound in love and holiness, a process that will culminate in perfect sinlessness when they are glorified at the coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).[18]

            As stated in Colossians three, Ephesians four, and other texts, Romans six similarly explains the significance of being dead to sin. One who is so dead can no longer live in it (6:2). As pictured[19] in baptism, the Christian is now dead to sin and both free to live and certain of a new life (6:3-5). The statement that “like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”[20] no more implies uncertainty about the saint’s new walk than the similar houto kai (ou¢tw kai/) + aorist subjunctive construction in Romans 5:21, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”[21] The Divine purposes fulfill their result. As surely as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so sure is the saint’s walking in newness of life. The new walk is as sure as is the existence of the reign of grace by Jesus Christ.[22] The new resurrected walk is as sure as the saint’s death and burial with Christ in regeneration (6:4-6). Death with Christ means that the old man has been crucified with Him (6:6). The Christian has received deliverance from sin’s bondage (6:6), legal freedom from sin’s service (6:7), freedom from death’s dominion (6:9) the ability to live for God (6:10-11), and freedom from the dominion of sin and the beginning of the reign of grace (6:14). The culmination of these blessings in this life is future absolute destruction of the body of sin (6:6) and glorification with Christ (6:8). All these are the believer’s inheritance. Romans 5:21 sets the stage for the discourse of Romans 6—the believer is free from the reign of sin, and now grace reigns in him through righteousness, by means of Jesus Christ, with the result of eternal life. Nevertheless, until glorification, sin still remains within the believer (Romans 6:6, 10-23).

            Romans six does not thus define the death to sin that the believer possesses as absolute freedom from all influence from sin, but as freedom from its reigning power. Paul argues that since the believer is free, he is not to let sin reign in his members. The believer is already legally dead, buried, and risen with Christ, and this legal deliverance guarantees his sanctification now and future bodily glorification. He is consequently to reckon, consider, and believe that this is so (6:11), not allow sin to reign in his mortal body (6:12) and consequently obey its lusts, or present his members to sin and put them at its disposal (6:13), but rather he is to yield himself to God and yield his members as instruments of righteousness (6:13), knowing that, since he is not under the legal control of the law, but under grace, he has the promise that sin will not have dominion over him (6:14), but God will certainly effectually work in him to sanctify him and bring him to ultimate glorification. He can rejoice that 6:14 is a promise, not a possibility, and consequently yield himself to God, present his members to Him, and put sin to death, knowing that victory over sin is certain.

C. The Significance Of And Relationships Between The Old Man, The Body Of Sin, And The Flesh, How These Are To Be Mortified, And The Nature Of Mortification

The “old man,” the person dominated by the ethically sinful flesh,[23] expresses an idea closely related to “the body of sin,” the body as dominated by sin. The body of sin is the portion of the old man (who is body, soul, and spirit)[24] that controls the unregenerate individual, that is, his ethically sinful flesh, which is related to his physical body,[25] although the “body of sin,” like the old man and the ethically sinful flesh, are psycho-somatic, referring to man in his entire being.[26]

Both the “old man” and “the body of sin” are dead and are crucified, yet are still extant and still in need of mortification, in a different sense. The “old man” and his ungodly deeds are “put off” and the new man and holy actions “put on”[27] at the moment of faith and regeneration in purpose and profession (Colossians 3:9-10) and the dominion of sin is shattered, yet, as already indicated, the old man still is to be constantly and progressively put off in practice as the saint is constantly “renewed in the spirit of [his] mind” and the “new man” constantly “put on” (Ephesians 4:21-24),[28] a process which will continue until the Christian, in future glory, has become a “perfect man,” having reached the complete moral “measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). The product (“wherefore,” 4:25) of this continuing and progressive mortification of the old man and vivification or strengthening of the new man is that specific sins are put off and holy actions are put on (Ephesians 4:25-29).[29]

            The “body of sin” (Romans 6:6) is the “body of this death” (Romans 7:24), the “body of the sins of the flesh” (Colossians 2:11), and “the body” the “deeds” of which one is to “mortify” (Romans 8:13; cf. also Romans 8:10, 11, 23; Philippians 3:21). This body is put off, just like the old man, at the moment of regeneration, for “the circumcision made without hands” involves the “putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ”[30] (Colossians 2:11). Nevertheless, the body of sin is still present in another sense, for the apostle Paul, although obviously already regenerate, nonetheless complains, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).[31] Thus, Scripture teaches that the body of sin in believers has been permanently put off in regeneration, but, in another sense, it is still present.

            Likewise, believers are no longer in the flesh (Romans 7:5), and everyone who is still in the flesh is unconverted and unregenerate (Romans 8:8-9), yet in another sense Christians still possess the ethically sinful flesh (Romans 6:19; 7:18, 25), although they no longer characteristically walk according to the flesh (Romans 8:1-14). Thus, the old man is “put off” (Colossians 3:9) and the body of sin is “put off” (Colossians 2:11) in regeneration, and all the regenerate are no longer in the flesh (Romans 7:5), yet the old man, the body of sin, and the flesh are still present.

            The “body of sin” expresses itself in its parts, its “members.” That is, “when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death” (Romans 7:5). These “members” constitute, together, the entirety of the person (1 Corinthians 12:14-27), from the “head to the feet” (12:21). In the sense in which the old man and the body of sin are still present and active, the believer must “mortify . . . [his] members which are upon the earth” (Colossians 3:5). He is commanded: “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13). That is, “as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield[32] your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Romans 6:19). The Christian must mortify his sinful members because he can say, with Paul, “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23), since he still has “lusts that war in [his] members” (James 4:1; cf. 3:5-6) that seek to “defil[e] the whole body, and . . . [are] set on fire of hell” (James 3:6). Nonetheless, as new men, believers’ “bodies are the members of Christ” (1 Corinthians 6:15). As an unconverted person continues to sin, yielding his members to uncleanness and to iniquity, his lesser sins lead on to even greater ones, “iniquity unto iniquity.” (Romans 6:19; cf. 1:21-32). Likewise, as the believer yields his members to righteousness, his “righteousness [is] unto holiness” (te dikaiosune eis hagiasmon, thØv dikaiosu/nhØ ei˙ß aJgiasmo/n), that is, progressive yielding of his members to righteousness leads to progressive growth in holiness within him as a person. The mortification of the remnants of sin within the believer takes place as the believer opposes, by the Spirit, the various members of the body of sin that still remain within him.

            Romans 8:13 states, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit[33] do mortify (thanatoute, qanatouvte, present active indicative) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Colossians 3:5 states, “Mortify (nekrosate, nekrw¿sate, aorist active imperative) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” These two texts, the ones that speak specifically of the Christian duty of mortification, employ two different Greek verbs, thanatoo (qanato/w) in Romans 8:13, and nekroo (nekro/w) in Colossians 3:5. The “deeds of the body” are put to death or mortified with thanatao, and the “members which are upon the earth” are mortified with nekroo. While there is doubtless a significant amount of overlap[34] in the semantic domain of the two verbs, it appears that the use of thanatoo indicates that the deeds of the body are to be entirely eliminated, caused to cease, and put to death.[35] The earthly members are to become as good as dead (nekroo), that is, progressively weakened, although the earthly members are never totally extirpated in this life. Thanatoo appears[36] with relatively greater frequency than nekroo in the New Testament; the only texts containing nekroo besides Colossians 3:5 are Romans 4:19 and Hebrews 11:12.[37] Both Romans 4:19 and Hebrews 11:12 refer to a person who is still alive, but weak and “good as dead” because of his age. In light of the parallel texts, the command to the Christian to mortify his earthly members in Colossians 3:5 indicates that he is to progressively weaken them so that they are “as good as dead.”[38] The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament[39] states concerning nekroo: “Among physicians it denotes the atrophy of a part of the body through sickness.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon[40] gives as definition #3 for nekroo, “to deprive of power, destroy the strength of.” Thus, Romans 8:13 and Colossians 3:5 indicate that the deeds of the sinful body are to be put to death, caused to cease, and eliminated, while the earthly members themselves are to be made as good as dead,[41] although they will always remain present in this life. The believer is to progressively put to death the sin principle within him by the power of the Holy Spirit.[42] By the Spirit, he is to assault and weaken the strength of the body of sin within him by putting to death both the sinful deeds and the earthly members that are the manifestations of his indwelling sin.[43]

            While the believer is commanded to mortify, it is essential to remember that he does so only “through the Spirit” (Romans 8:13). The entirety of sanctification, including both mortification and vivification, is a product of the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit within the Christian. As mortification is only “through the Spirit,” likewise vivification comes from the Holy Ghost. Ephesians 3:16 (cf. Colossians 1:11)[44] indicates that God “grants . . . by his Spirit” that the believer’s inner man is strengthened. All aspects of “sanctification” are “of the Spirit” (1 Peter 1:2; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). The believer’s holy affections and resultant holy actions are the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9), spiritual fruit produced by the Holy Spirit because of the union the Christian has with Christ (Romans 8:2; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:3), the Author of spiritual strength (Philippians 4:13) along with the Father (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:23) and the Holy Ghost. Apart from Christ, the believer can do nothing good (John 15:4). In sanctification, the believer is unquestionably active, but his holiness is nonetheless a Divine product.[45] Christians can testify, therefore, in spiritual growth, as in the providential ordering of circumstances in their life, that “we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

            Arthur Pink comments well on the use of the word “body” in Romans 6:6, rather than what might be expected, “flesh”:[46]

But why “mortify the deeds of the body”? In view of the studied balancing of the several clauses in this antithetical sentence, we had expected it to read “mortify the flesh.” In the seventh chapter and the opening verses of the eighth the apostle had treated of indwelling sin as the fount of all evil actions; and here he insists on the mortifying of both the root and the branches of corruption, referring to the duty under the name of the fruits it bears. The “deeds of the body” must not be restricted to mere outward works, but be understood as including also the springs from which they issue. As Owen rightly said, “The axe must be laid to the root of the tree.” In our judgment “the body” here has a twofold reference.

First, to the evil nature or indwelling sin, which in Romans 6:6, and 7:24, is likened unto a body, namely “the body of the sins of the flesh” (Colossians 2:11). It is a body of corruption which compasses the soul: hence we read of “your members which are upon the earth” (Colossians 3:5). The “deeds of the body” are the works which corrupt nature produces, namely our sins. Thus the “body” is here used objectively of “the flesh.”

Second, the “body” here includes the house in which the soul now dwells. It is specified to denote the degrading malignity which there is in sin, reducing its slaves to live as though they had no souls. It is mentioned to import the tendency of indwelling sin, namely to please and pamper the baser part of our being, the soul being made the drudge of the outward man. The body is here referred to for the purpose of informing us that though the soul be the original abode of “the flesh” the physical frame is the main instrument of its actions. Our corruptions are principally manifested in our external members: it is there that indwelling sin is chiefly found and felt. Sins are denominated “the deeds of the body” not only because they are what the lusts of the flesh tend to produce, but also because they are executed by the body (Romans 6:12). Our task then is not to transform and transmute “the flesh,” but to slay it: to refuse its impulses, to deny its aspirations, to put to death its appetites.

But who is sufficient for such a task—a task which is not a work of nature but wholly a spiritual one? It is far beyond the unaided powers of the believer. Means and ordinances cannot of themselves effect it. It is beyond the province and ability of the preacher: omnipotence must have the main share in the work. “If ye through the Spirit do mortify,” that is “the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ” of Romans 8:9—the Holy Spirit; for He is not only the Spirit of holiness in His nature, but in His operations too. He is the principal efficient cause of mortification. Let us marvel at and adore the Divine grace which has provided such a Helper for us! Let us recognize and realize that we are as truly indebted to and dependent upon the Spirit’s operations as we are upon the Father’s electing and the Son’s redeeming us. Though grace be wrought in the hearts of the regenerate, yet it lies not in their power to act it. He who imparted the grace must renew, excite, and direct it.

Believers may employ the aids of inward discipline and rigor, and practice outward moderation and abstinence, and while they may for a time check and suppress their evil habits, unless the Spirit puts forth His power in them there will be no true mortification. And how does He operate in this particular work? In many different ways. First, at the new birth He gives us a new nature. Then by nourishing and preserving that nature. In strengthening us with His might in the inner man. In granting fresh supplies of grace from day to day. By working in us a loathing of sin, a mourning over it, a turning from it. By pressing upon us the claims of Christ, making us willing to take up our cross and follow Him. By bringing some precept or warning to our mind. By sealing a promise upon the heart. By moving us to pray.

Yet let it be carefully noted that our text does not say, “If the Spirit do mortify,” or even “If the Spirit through you do mortify,” but, instead, “If ye through the Spirit”: the believer is not passive in this work, but active. It must not be supposed that the Spirit will help us without our concurrence, as well while we are asleep as waking, whether or not we maintain a close watch over our thoughts and works, and exercise nothing but a slight wish or sluggish prayer for the mortification of our sins. Believers are required to set themselves seriously to the task. If on the one hand we cannot discharge this duty without the Spirit’s enablement, on the other hand He will not assist if we be too indolent to put forth earnest endeavors. Then let not the lazy Christian imagine he will ever get the victory over his lusts.

The old man, the body of sin, and the flesh all relate to remnants of sin within the believer that are legally dead at regeneration, progressively weakened in the Christian life through mortification, and utterly abolished at glorification. However, they emphasize different aspects of indwelling sin. The term old man refers to the entirety of the unconverted person, body, soul, and spirit. The body of sin is the body as dominated or controlled by sin, and the flesh in the ethically sinful sense is the seat of indwelling sin in the believer that controlled him in his unregenerate state.

D. The Nature And Means Of Vivification,

The Positive Converse of Mortification

I. The Nature of Vivification

1.) Vivification as Quickening

            As mortification involves the putting to death of the members of the old man and his deeds, so vivification is the work of God in the progressive strengthening and growth of the new man and his deeds, in an increase in the spiritual strength and power of the gracious nature and principles bestowed in regeneration.

            The Old Testament psalmist, praising that Word which is the Spirit’s instrument in sanctification (Psalm 119:50, 93; John 17:17),[47] prayed:

My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken[48] thou me according to thy word. . . . Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. . . . Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. . . . This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. . . . Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth. . . . I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. . . . I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. . . . Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment. . . . Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. . . . Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. . . . Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness” (Psalm 119:25, 37, 40, 50, 88, 93, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159).

The Psalmist recognized Jehovah as the great Giver and Renewer of spiritual life, as He is of physical life (Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; Job 33:4)—he did not quicken himself, but sought the Lord, praying, “quicken me.” While Divinely bestowed spiritual life leads the saint to walk “in [God’s] way” (Psalm 119:37), the believer himself is strengthened in spiritual life—the Psalmist’s prayer is not concerning his actions only, but he prays that he himself would be vivified (“quicken me”) with holy actions as a result. Other Old Testament texts likewise indicate that a work of God vivifying the believer himself is the cause of holy actions on his part: “quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts” (Psalm 80:18-19). Outward holy actions are the product of the gracious inward renewal worked by God in His people. “Wilt thou not revive [same form as quicken—which contributes to a Biblical understanding of the nature of revival; cf. also Psalm 138:7; Hosea 14:7; Habakkuk 3:2] us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

            The New Testament employs the verb quicken (zwˆopoie÷w) for the coming bodily resurrection from the dead (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:22) and the related verb quicken with (suzwopoie÷w) for the believer’s current spiritual resurrection as a result of his union with Christ that is associated with his regeneration (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13), but does not specifically employ quickening terminology for the strengthening of the spiritual life of the saint in progressive sanctification; rather, the inspired Greek Testament expresses the progressive spriritual vivification of the believer with other terminology. Nevertheless, the fact that quickening terminology is employed in Scripture for the spiritual life bestowed in regeneration by means of union with Christ (Ephesians 2:5), the spiritual growth of the believer on earth (Psalm 119:25) and the glorification of the believer in the future at the time of his bodily resurrection (Romans 8:11) illustrates the continuity between regeneration, progressive vivification during the saint’s lifetime, and the consummation of that process in eternity.

2.) Vivification as Growth

            The New Testament expresses the development of the new nature within the believer with terminology of growth. 2 Peter 3:18 commands believers: “[G]row in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (aujxa¿nete de« e˙n ca¿riti kai« gnw¿sei touv Kuri÷ou hJmw◊n kai« swthvroß ∆Ihsouv Cristouv.) Spiritual growth is progressive renewal into the moral image of God, into Christlikeness. Christ placed spiritual leaders in the church to bring about certain results:

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)[49]

The saints are perfected and edified by Christ through church leadership (v. 11-12) with the result that they progress towards unity in the faith and experiential knowledge of or communion with the Son of God (v. 13) with the result that each believer becomes more like “a perfect man,” that is, he becomes closer to “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (v. 13), no longer being a spiritual child that can easily waver (v. 14), but instead “grow[ing] up into [Christ] in all things” (v. 15) as the Lord Jesus, the head of His spiritual body, supplies grace and strength to each member of it (v. 16). Progressive sanctification renews the whole person into the image of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, a process culminated when in glorification the saint is perfectly like Him (1 John 3:2).[50] The believer’s old man grows weaker and dies and his new man grows stronger and more powerful. The growth of the new man is compared to the physical growth[51] of an infant through childhood to a mature man (Ephesians 4:14-16; Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:2[52]). As God renews His children in their entire new man into the image of Christ (Ephesians 4:13-15), they grow in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10) and of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), in grace (2 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 9:14) and in faith (2 Corinthians 10:15), and, as a result, in every good work and fruit of righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:8-14).

            The source of spiritual growth is God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who alone “giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7; cf. Ephesians 4:11-16) and gets the glory for it (1 Corinthians 3:7) both by giving the lost faith and regeneration (1 Corinthians 3:5) and producing spiritual growth in those He saves. The instrumentality of growth is the Word of God, by which sinners are born again and then grow into maturity (1 Peter 1:23; 2:2; Mark 4:8, 14). Both church leadership (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 3:6-7) and every individual member of the church (Ephesians 4:16) use the Word as the human means God employs to produce growth His people. The growth and development of the new man constitutes a central aspect of the doctrine of vivification.

3.) Vivification as Building Up

            Scripture employs the oikodomeo word group, which speaks of building or building up,[53] to describe progressive sanctification. The verb to build (oi˙kodome÷w) refers to the literal building of houses (Matthew 7:24), towers (Matthew 21:33), tombs (Matthew 23:39), temples (Matthew 26:61), cities (Luke 4:29), synagogues (Luke 7:5), barns (Luke 12:18), and other items in general (Luke 17:28). Those who build are builders (Matthew 21:42), and they build up (e˙poikodome÷w, 1 Corinthians 3:10-14, cf. sunoikodome÷w, Ephesians 2:22) buildings (oikodomh/, Matthew 24:1), and build up again or rebuild (aÓnoikodome÷w, Acts 15:16) ones that have fallen down or that need restoration. The literal construction of buildings underlies the Scriptural metaphor for progressive sanctification as building or building up.

            As an edifice is a building, so, when spiritual building up is in view, oikodomeo is translated to edify (Acts 9:31; 1 Corinthians 10:23) as well as to build (1 Peter 2:5). A believer’s gradual growth in holiness is compared to the construction of a building; construction begins at regeneration, laid upon the foundation of Christ, the chief cornerstone (1 Corinthians 3:11), and upon the foundational revelation of the Word of God given through the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20; 3:5).[54] The metaphorical building of the believer proceeds throughout life at whatever rate he is growing spiritually, and is completed at glorification. The building metaphor is also used for the spiritual development of Christ’s congregation; in the Lord Jesus “all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord . . . builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22).

            The Triune God is the ultimate cause of the believer being built up spiritually. The church and her individual members are “God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9)[55] because He is the source and producer of spiritual growth and progressive sanctification,[56] as He is the one who will perfectly sanctify His saints and give them holy glorified bodies at their resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:1). Jehovah spiritually revives and rebuilds His people when they have fallen into spiritual ruin (Acts 15:16-17).[57] Believers are “rooted and built up in” Christ (Colossians 2:7), for Christ builds up the members of His churches individually and builds and multiplies His congregations corporately (Matthew 16:18; Acts 9:31). The church and her individual members are built up in Christ and by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).[58] The saints, as living stones, “are built up a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5) through the power of God (1 Peter 1:5), including the election, regenerating decree, and calling of the Father (1 Peter 1:2-3, 15-17, 20), the redemptive suffering, blood, death, resurrection, and mediatorial office of the Son (1 Peter 1:2-3, 11, 18-21), and the effectual application of regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Ghost (1 Peter 1:3, 12, 22), through the instrumentality of the Word of God (1 Peter 1:10-11, 23-25, 2:1-3).

While God is the ultimate source of spiritual edification, He uses His Word and His people as secondary instrumentalities in the building up of the saints. Thus, both “God” and “the word of His grace” “build . . . up” believers[59] and give them an inheritance among the sanctified (Acts 20:32). Furthermore, the Lord gives people the power to be secondary causes of edification as they minister to one another (2 Corinthians 13:10) using the Word; thus, “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification” (1 Corinthians 14:3-5). The saints are commanded to “edify one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Christ “maketh increase of the body,” but He does so as He leads the “whole body” to be “fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,” so that it is appropriate to speak of the church body itself producing spiritual building, the “edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). The ascended Savior gave spiritual leadership, that is, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to the church (Ephesians 4:11) so that through the corporate ministry of the Word and through individual exhortation the saints might be perfected and the body of Christ edified (Ephesians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 10:8; 13:10). As the Lord uses evangelists to start new churches, as people are converted and added to the church through baptism, those who evangelize add new Christians, spiritual stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ (Romans 15:20), to the church, the corporate assembly of regenerate and immersed believers. Others spiritual leaders use the Word to build up existing churches numerically and spiritually upon Christ, the foundation (1 Corinthians 3:5-15). Indeed, all the spiritual gifts the Lord gives His people are for the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 14:12), and are to be used “unto edifying” (1 Corinthians 14:26), as in general “all things” are to be done “for . . . edifying” (2 Corinthians 12:19). Individual saints must “edify . . . one . . . another” (Romans 14:19), and “please” each other “for . . . good to edification” (Romans 15:2). Even the ability to lead in corporate prayer must be used for edification (1 Corinthians 14:15-17). Saints also build each other up as they use their spiritual liberties (1 Corinthians 8:2-13) with charity (1 Corinthians 8:1), while by the misuse of liberty they can uncharitably (Romans 14:15) tear down weaker brothers, that is, build them up in sin (1 Corinthians 8:10). Believers must, therefore, avoid even what is lawful if it will be unprofitable (1 Corinthians 6:12) and lead others to stumble instead of being built up (1 Corinthians 10:23). Individual believers must not rebuild the sin and spiritual bondage that was torn down at the moment of their regeneration (Galatians 2:18), but must seek their own and others edification in all that they do. They must keep themselves in the love of God by praying in the Holy Ghost and building themselves up on their most holy faith (Jude 20-21). Likewise, believers are not to heed false doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3) or “give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions,” but rather to consider “godly edifying which is in faith” (1 Timothy 1:4). Godly speech is “good to the use of edifying” as it is the instrument through which God gives grace to those who hear it (Ephesians 4:29). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit build up the saints individually and corporately through the power of sanctifying grace given instrumentally through the Word and other believers in the church.

4.) Vivification as Strengthening

            Vivification is often expressed with Scriptural words designating strengthening.[60] Building to spiritual truth from instances where this group of words is employed in the physical world (e. g., Acts 3:7, 16; 16:5; Hebrews 5:12, 14; 1 Peter 5:9), strengthening texts illuminate important aspects of the work of God in sanctifying His people.

            Progressive sanctification strengthens or establishes a believer’s heart and soul (Acts 14:22) unblameable in holiness before God the Father, a process only completed at the coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 3:13). God progressively perfects, establishes, strengthens, and settles believers until they become perfectly holy in eternal glory (1 Peter 5:10). As the Triune God, and especially the incarnate Son, strengthens believers (cf. Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:13;[61] 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:7) according to His glorious power[62] and grace (2 Timothy 2:1), Christians are filled with spiritual knowledge and understanding as well as holy attitudes and actions (Colossians 1:9-12). They grow stronger in their knowledge of and ability to rightly teach the Word (Acts 9:22), grow stronger in faith (Romans 4:20), and grow in their ability to fight and win spiritual victories (2 Timothy 4:17; Hebrews 11:34). Believers are not only strengthened individually, but churches, assemblies of the saints, are likewise corporately strengthened (Acts 15:41; 16:5). Strengthening leads the saints to hold fast to the Word and to practice “every good word and work” (1 Thessalonians 2:15-17) as God keeps them from evil (1 Thessalonians 3:3) and the error of the wicked (2 Peter 3:17) and they are established in the truth (2 Peter 1:12). When the “heart [is] established [or strengthened] with grace,” the saint is not “carried about with divers and strange doctrines” (Hebrews 13:9). As believers are strengthened or established, they become unmoved by trials and temptations (1 Thessalonians 3:2-5) as they stand fast in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 3:8) and in the faith (Acts 14:22; 16:5), as their faith grows stedfast (Colossians 2:5) firm (1 Peter 5:9; cf. 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 5:12, 14), and established (Colossians 2:7). Spiritual strengthening leads believers to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 16:5). Believers strengthen one another as they themselves are strengthened by Christ (Luke 22:32). They are strengthened through spiritual gifts and the faith of other saints (Romans 1:11-12). As God strengthens believers through the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25; Acts 15:32), so likewise spiritual leaders strengthen and establish other believers (1 Thessalonians 3:2-3; Acts 18:23) through the instrumentality of the Word. God continues to strengthen, establish or confirm believers to the end, evidencing their eternal security and the certainty of their sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:21).

In contrast, believers and churches that backslide grow weaker, and are called upon to be “watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die” (Revelation 3:2). Terms for spiritual weakening[63] or sickness are derived from terms for physical weakness or sickness (Matthew 8:17; Mark 6:56; John 6:2; 1 Timothy 5:23) in a manner that corresponds to the relationship between physical and spiritual strengthening. Spiritual weakness leads the believer to quickly fold under pressure from sin, while the stronger a Christian is the greater ability he has to withstand fiercer assaults by the world, the flesh, and the devil; weakness is opposed to strength or to power (Hebrews 11:34; 1 Corinthians 15:43; 2 Corinthians 13:4). While a believer is either growing spiritually stronger or weaker, so an all-or-nothing element is present in sanctification, both spiritual strength and weakness, like physical strength and weakness, have degrees.[64] Greater spiritual weakness is associated with greater spiritual inability to perform spiritual good, as the unregenerate are absolutely spiritually weak because of their total inability to please God (Romans 5:6), and physical weakness creates physical inability (Luke 13:11; John 5:3, 7; Acts 4:9; 3:1-8).[65] Believers can become weak in general (Romans 14:21), grow weak in faith (Romans 4:19; 14:1-2), and have a weak conscience (1 Corinthians 8:7, 12), that is, one that does not have the strength to withstand strong temptations (1 Corinthians 8:10). Stronger Christians and spiritual leaders are commanded to “support the weak” (Acts 20:35; 1 Thessalonians 5:14) because of their lack of spiritual strength. The strong must use spiritual liberty in such a way that the weak are not led to stumble (Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13; 9:22). Paul commands: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” (Romans 15:1-2).

Indeed, all believers short of heaven possess sinful “infirmities” (Romans 8:26; Hebrews 5:2, 7:27-28) that Christ their High Priest sympathizes with (Hebrews 4:15) and the Holy Spirit assists them to overcome (Romans 8:26). Despite the willingness and eagerness to obey of his renewed spirit, the believer must constantly watch and pray, because his flesh, his indwelling sin, is weak and ready to lead him into temptation (Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38). As physical infirmity in the flesh hinders physical ability (Galatians 4:13), so does the spiritual infirmity of the flesh (Romans 6:19) hinder the believer’s spiritual progress. Christians must recognize that apart from the grace and power given to them by God, they are spiritually weak; spiritual strength requires recognizing one’s autonomous weakness and walking in the Spirit’s power instead (2 Corinthians 11:30; 12:5, 9, 10; cf. Romans 8:3-4). As God strengthens them (1 Peter 5:10) and they strengthen what God has worked in them (Revelation 3:2), believers pass from weakness to ever greater degrees of strength, and grow in their ability to obey the Divine mandate to strengthen their brethren (Luke 22:32).

5.) Vivification as Transformation

            The progressive restoration of the image of Christ that constitutes vivification in this life and which is consummated in glorification is powerfully set forth in the New Testament language of spiritual transformation with the morphoo (morfo/w) word group.[66] The verb morphoo[67] appears only in Galatians 4:19, where the word sets forth the progressive sanctification that takes place as “Christ [is] formed in” the believer (Galatians 4:19).[68] The related noun morphe (morfh/)[69] indicates that through the process of Galatians 4:19 God works in the regenerate a true likeness to Christ. The word appears in three verses in the New Testament. Mark 16:12[70] refers to the “form” of the resurrected and glorified body in which the Lord Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Philippians 2:6-7[71] teaches that Christ took the “form of a servant” in the incarnation, thus specifying His true humanity in the same way that His Deity is indicated by His existing (uJpa¿rcwn) in the “form of God” from all eternity. The Divine work of forming Christ in the believer thus involves the progressive transformation of his entire person into the likeness of the glorified Son of Man. Such transformation is certain for the believer, since God has “predestinate[d] [him] to be conformed [summorphos, su/mmorfoß][72] to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). The believer becomes conformed to the holiness of Christ in his life as he is “being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10)[73] through physically suffering persecution and spiritually mortifying sin,[74] and is both morally and bodily conformed to Christ eschatologically (Philippians 3:21).[75]

            The Greek verb metamorphoo (metamorfo/w) provides further glorious truth about the nature of the progressive sanctification. The verb is used twice for the transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2) and twice for the spiritual transformation of the believer in sanctification (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).[76] Romans 12:2 commands, “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (mh\ suschmati÷zesqe twˆ◊ ai˙w◊ni tou/twˆ, aÓlla» metamorfouvsqe thØv aÓnakainw¿sei touv noo\ß uJmw◊n).[77] 2 Corinthians 3:18 states, “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” (hJmei√ß . . . pa¿nteß, aÓnakekalumme÷nwˆ prosw¿pwˆ th\n do/xan Kuri÷ou katoptrizo/menoi, th\n aujth/n ei˙ko/na metamorfou/meqa aÓpo\ do/xhß ei˙ß do/xan, kaqa¿per aÓpo\ Kuri÷ou Pneu/matoß). All believers (“we all,” 2 Corinthians 3:18), are progressively transformed into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit.[78] They pass “from glory to glory” in this life, becoming more like Christ as the old in them is eliminated and the new grows stronger and stronger, until the transformation is complete when they are “like him . . . [and] see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). As they behold and meditate upon the glory of God revealed in the mirror of the Word[79] their nature is transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. The renewal (anakainosis, aÓnakai÷nwsiß) begun by the Spirit in regeneration (Titus 3:5) is carried on by Him in believers now (Romans 12:2) until it is perfected in eternal glory. The inward transformation wrought by the Holy Spirit results in a believer being different and therefore acting differently.[80]

6.) Vivification as Perfecting

            The katardizo word group[81] is used in connection with God’s vivifying work in “perfecting” His people. In Hebrews 13:20-21, Paul writes: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The text indicates that God, by “working in” believers “that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” and “through the blood of the everlasting covenant,” in such a manner “make[s] [them] perfect”[82] with the Divine purpose and result[83] that believers “do His will” and do “every good work.” Similarly, Paul tells the Corinthians, “this also we wish, even your perfection” (2 Corinthians 13:9)[84] and exhorts: “Be perfect” (2 Corinthians 13:11).[85] Christ gives the church pastors and teachers “for the perfecting of the saints” (Ephesians 4:12).[86] The “perfection” in view is the restoration of Christlikeness in the believer which results in obedience. Progressive sanctification begins the process, completed only in glorification, whereby although “the disciple is not above his master,” nonetheless “every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40).[87] A believer who is “overtaken in a fault” must be “restore[d]” (katartidzo) from his status of being buffeted and led into sin (Galatians 6:1).[88] Peter’s prayer that God would “make . . . perfect” his audience is explained as the saints being established, strengthened, and settled (1 Peter 5:10).[89] On the other hand, the death-grip of sin upon the unconverted makes them into “vessels of wrath fitted [katartidzo] to destruction” (Romans 9:22).[90] In contexts not closely related to progressive sanctification, the verb katartidzo is used for nets being mended (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19), for praise being perfected (Matthew 21:16), and for Christ’s body (Hebrews 10:5) and the universe (Hebrews 11:3) being framed and perfectly fitted together. As believers are perfected in their persons, “that which is lacking in [their] faith” is likewise “perfect[ed]” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). Similarly, saints in the church are brought into unity, becoming “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” with “no divisions” among them (1 Corinthians 1:10).

            As a saint is perfected (katartismos, Ephesians 4:12), he grows towards becoming a “perfect (teleios) man,” having “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). The teleios word-group[91] provides important data about the work of God in “perfecting” the saints. Trench[92] provides helpful information on the significance of teleios as “perfect,” as specifically compared to “perfection” as holokleros and artios:

ÔOlo/klhroß and te÷leioß occur together, though their order is reversed, at Jam. i. 4, —“perfect and entire” (cf. Philo, De Sac. Ab. e Cain. 33: e¶mplea kai« oJlo/klhra kai«te÷leia: Dio Chrysostom, Oral. 12, p. 203); e¶mplea kai« oJlo/klhra kai« te÷leia: besides in the N. T. (1 Thess. v. 23); oJlo/klhri÷a, also, but in a physical or an ethical sense, once (Acts iii. 16; cf. Isai. i. 6). ÔOlo/klhroß signifies first, as its etymology declares, that which retains all which was allotted to it at the first (Ezek xv. 5), being thus whole and entire in all its parts (oJlo/klhroß kai« pantelh/ß, Philo, De Mere. Meret. 1); with nothing necessary for its completeness wanting. Thus Darius would have been well pleased not to have taken Babylon if only Zopyrus, who had maimed himself to carry out the stratagem by which it fell, were oJlo/klhroß still (Plutarch, Reg. et Imper. Apoph.). Again, unhewn stones, as having lost nothing in the process of shaping and polishing, are oJlo/klhroi (Dent. xxvii. 6; 1Macc. iv. 47); perfect weeks are e˚bdoma¿deß oJlo/klhroi (Lev. xxiii. 15); and a man e˙n oJloklh/rwˆ de÷rmati, is ‘in a whole skin’ (Lucian, Philops. 8). We next find oJlo/klhroß expressing that integrity of body, with nothing redundant, nothing deficient (cf. Lev. xxi. 17-23), which was required of the Levitical priests as a condition of their ministering at the altar, which also might not be wanting in the sacrifices they offered. In both these senses Josephus uses it (Ant. iii. 12:2); as does Philo continually. It is with him the standing word for this integrity of the priests and of the sacrifice, to the necessity of which he often recurs, seeing in it, and rightly, a mystical significance, and that these are oJlo/klhroi qusi÷ai oJloklh/rwˆ qewˆ◊ (De Vict. 2; De Vict. Off. I, oJlo/klhron kai« pantelw◊ß me÷mwn aÓme÷tocon: De Agricul. 29; De Cherub. 28; cf. Plato, Legg. vi. 759 c). Te÷leiß is used by Homer (Il. 1. 66) in the same sense.

      It is not long before oJlo/klhroß and oJloklhri÷a, like the Latin ‘integer’ and ‘integritas,’ are transferred from bodily to mental and moral entireness (Suetonius, Claud. 4). The only approach to this in the Apocrypha is Wisd. xv. 3, oJlo/klhra dikaiosu/nh: but in an interesting and important passage in the Phaedrus of Plato (250 c; cf. Tim. c), oJlo/klhroß expresses the perfection of man before the Fall; I mean, of course, the Fall as Plato contemplated it; when to men, as yet oJlo/klhroi kai« aÓpaqei√ß kakw◊n, were vouchsafed oJlo/klhroß fa¿smata, as contrasted with those weak partial glimpses of the Eternal Beauty, which are all that to most men are now vouchsafed. That person then or thing is oJlo/klhroß, which is ‘omnibus numeris absolutus,’ or e˙n mhdeni« leipo/menoß, as St. James himself (i.4) explains the word.

      The various applications of te÷leioß are all referable to the te÷loß, which is its ground. In a natural sense the te÷leioi are the adult, who, having attained the full limits of stature, strength, and mental power within their reach, have in these respects attained their te÷loß, as distinguished from the ne÷oi or pai√deß, young men or boys (Plato, Legg. xi.929 c; Xenophon, Cyr. viii. 7. 6; Polybius, v. 29. 2). This image of full completed growth, as contrasted with infancy and childhood, underlies the ethical use of te÷leioi by St. Paul, he setting these over against the nh/pioi e˙n Cristwˆ◊ (1 Cor. ii. 6; xiv. 20; Ephes. iv. 13, 14; Phil. iii. 15; Heb. v. 14; cf. Philo, De Agricul. 2); they correspond in fact to the pate÷reß of 1 John ii. 13, 14, as distinct from the neani÷skoi and paidi÷a. Nor is this ethical use of te÷leioß confined to Scripture. The Stoics distinguished the te÷leioß in philosophy from the proko/ptwn, just as at 1 Chron. xxv. 8 the te÷leioi are set over against the manqa¿nonteß. With the heathen, those also were te÷leioi who had been initiated into the mysteries; for just as the Lord’s Supper was called to\ te÷leion (Bingham, Christ. Antiquities, i. 4. 3), because there was nothing beyond it, no privilege into which the Christian has not entered, so these te÷leioi of heathen initiation obtained their name as having been now introduced into the latest and crowning mysteries of all.

      It will be seen that there is a certain ambiguity in our word ‘perfect,’ which, indeed, it shares with te÷leioß itself; this, namely, that they are both employed now in a relative, now in an absolute sense; for only so could our Lord have said, “Be ye therefore perfect (te÷leioi), as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (te÷leioß), Matt. v. 48; cf. xix. 21. The Christian shall be ‘perfect,’ yet not in the sense in which some of the sects preach the doctrine of perfection, who, as soon as their words are looked into, are found either to mean nothing which they could not have expressed by a word less liable to misunderstanding; or to mean something which no man in this life shall attain, and which he who affirms he has attained is deceiving himself, or others, or both. The faithful man shall be ‘perfect,’ that is, aiming by the grace of God to be fully furnished and firmly established in the knowledge and practice of the things of God (Jam. iii. 2; Col. iv. 12: te÷leioß kai« peplhroforhme÷noß); not a babe in Christ to the end, ‘not always employed in the elements, and infant proposition and practices of religion, but doing noble actions, well skilled in the deepest mysteries of faith and holiness.’[93] In this sense St. Paul claimed to be te÷leioß, even while almost in the same breath he disclaimed the being teteleiwme÷noß (Phil. iii. 12, 15).

      The distinction then is plain. The oJlo/klhroß is one who has preserved, or who, having once lost, as now regained, his completeness: the te÷leioß is one who has attained his moral end, that for which he was intended, namely, to be a man in Christ; however it may be true that, having reached this, other and higher ends will open out before him, to have Christ formed in him more and more.[94] In the oJlo/klhroß no grace which ought to be in a Christian man is deficient; in the te÷leioß no grace is merely in its weak imperfect beginnings, but all have reached a certain ripeness and maturity. ÔOlotelh/ß, occurring once in the N. T. (1 Thess. v. 23; cf. Plutarch, De Plac. Phil. v. 21), forms a connecting link between the two, holding on to oJlo/klhroß in its first half, to te÷leioß in it second.

      ⁄Artioß, occurring only once in the N. T. (2 Tim. iii. 17), and there presently explained more fully as e˙xhrtisme÷noß, approximates in meaning more closely to oJlo/klhroß, with which we find it joined by Philo (De Plant. 29), than to te÷leioß. It is explained by Calvin, ‘in quo nihil est mutilum,’ —see further the quotation from Theodoret in Suicer, s.v., —and is found opposed to cwlo/ß (Chrysostom), to kolobo/ß (Olympiodorus), to aÓna¿phroß (Theodoret). Vulcan in Lucian (Sacrif. 6) is oujk a‡rtioß tw» po/de. If we ask ourselves under what special aspects completeness is contemplated in a‡rtioß, it would be safe to answer that it is not as the presence only of all the parts which are necessary for that completeness, but involves further the adaptation and aptitude of these parts for the ends which they were designed to serve. The man of God, St. Paul would say (2Tim. iii. 17), should be furnished and accomplished with all which is necessary for the carrying out of the work to which he is appointed.

The conclusions of Trench are validated by an examination of the specific words in the teleios group.

The verb teleioo (teleio/w)[95] is employed in Christ’s High Priestly prayer for Christ being perfectly formed within the believer (John 17:23, e˙gw» e˙n aujtoi√ß, kai« su\ e˙n e˙moi÷, iºna w°si teteleiwme÷noi ei˙ß eºn). Christ indwells the saint at the moment of his conversion and regeneration, and through progressive sanctification the “Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27) relation develops and deepens until the moral image of God is fully restored in the believer’s complete Christlikeness at glorification (John 17:17-24). On the basis of Christ’s High Priestly mediation, the Father sanctifies believers through the Word and the Spirit (John 16:13; 17:17) and Christ declares to them the name of the Father, that is, reveals to them His Person and nature (John 17:26) resulting in a deepening unity[96]of the believer with, likeness to, and love for his Triune Sanctifier,[97] which brings with it a greater unity of the saint with and love for all the rest of those the Father has chosen out of the world and given to His beloved Son from the foundation of the world (John 17:21-23). This progressive perfection of the elect on earth in love and holiness manifests to the world that Jesus Christ is the truth (17:21-23). The perfecting of the believer on the basis of Christ’s revelation of the Father to him (17:26) by the Word and Spirit, which begins at regeneration and continues throughout the saint’s time on earth, is completed when all the positionally and practically sanctified are with Christ in the eternal state and behold His glory (17:24). Therefore Paul affirmed that he was not yet perfect as he would be when he saw Christ in glory (Philippians 3:12, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect,” oujc o¢ti h¡dh e¶labon, h£ h¡dh tetelei÷wmai). Nonetheless, he was no longer a baby Christian, but was spiritually mature and already “perfect” (teleios, te÷leioß, Philippians 3:15) in that sense. Christ in the gospel perfects (teleioo, teleio/w) His people in a way the Law was powerless to do in the Old Testament (Hebrews 7:19). By His one offering He positionally perfects His people forever (Hebrews 10:14; cf. 10:1), He perfects them in their conscience during their lifetime (Hebrews 9:9), and He presents them to Himself absolutely perfect in the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:23; cf. also 11:40). Also, the faith and love of believers is perfected as they produce obedience (James 2:22; 1 John 2:5), Christlikeness and fearless separation from the world (1 John 4:17-18) and love for the brethren (1 John 4:12). The verb teleioo sets forth these glorious truths concerning the believer’s current and coming “perfection.”

The adjective teleios (te÷leioß)[98] is used for the absolutely perfect holiness of God Himself (Matthew 5:48b), which He requires of all men in His law (Matthew 5:48a; cf. 19:21), and which is completely legally imputed to the believer in justification (Matthew 6:33) but not completely inwardly imparted until glorification. It is likewise used for the absolute perfection of God’s will (Romans 12:2) and gifts (James 1:17), of the inspired text of (James 1:25) and complete canon of Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:10),[99] and of the believer in glory whose complete Christlikeness is the completion of his progressive sanctification (Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:28; 4:12; James 3:2). The word is also used for the relative perfection of Christian maturity, specifically contrasting an immature Christian understanding with a mature, adult Christian understanding (1 Corinthians 14:20). Some Christians are “perfect” (teleios) in this sense, while others are not (Philippians 3:15; 1 Corinthians 2:6; Colossians 4:12). Christians who are teleioi “are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). A new born infant (cf. 1 Peter 2:2) has a soul and a body, and all its human members, but he is still far from bodily maturity; likewise the regenerate have been made new in their entire being, but are not yet perfect in the degree of their holiness. Through trials, Christians become “perfect [teleios] and entire, wanting nothing” as they allow “patience [to have] her perfect [teleios] work” (James 3:1). Since this perfection can be relative, it is not surprising that a comparative form of the adjective teleios, “more perfect” (Hebrews 9:14),[100] is found in the New Testament. Believers have already “received” the truth about how they “ought to walk and to please God,” and consequently they are to “abound more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Furthermore, since the absolute sinlessness of glorification is the culmination of the inward renewal already taking place in the believer on earth, numbers of texts contain within them the transition of teleios from the believer’s current relative and maturing perfection to his coming absolute perfection (cf. Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:28; 4:12; James 3:2; 1 John 4:18).

The teleios word group demonstrates that Christians can attain a relative perfection of mature growth during this life and a complete perfection of sinless Christlikeness in glory. With that absolute perfection as their goal, they are to strive, by God’s grace, to reach as closely as possible on earth to that full and perfect perfection they will all attain when they enter the presence of their Lord.

Several less common words closely connected to the teleios group deserve examination. As explained above by Trench, the Christian is holokleros (oJlo/klhroß)[101] who is complete in all his parts, with nothing missing. The idea of completeness in all parts is supported by the related noun holokleria (oJlo/klhri÷a), a hapax legomenon found only in Acts 3:16[102] and referring to the complete bodily wholeness of the man who had been lame from birth but was healed by Peter. When believers “let patience have her perfect [teleios] work,” they become “perfect [teleios] and entire [holokleros], wanting nothing” (James 1:4). Because of the faithfulness of God, every Christian is being sanctified in his entire (holokleros) being, spirit and soul and body: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole [holokleros] spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless[103] unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).[104] No part of the Christian is left unchanged by the renewal, the vivification, of progressive sanctification, although no part of the Christian attains absolute perfection in this life.[105] Trench likewise noted that the word holoteles (oJlotelh/ß), a New Testament hapax legomenon found in 1 Thessalonians 5:23a (“sanctify you wholly”), “forms a connecting link between the two [words holokleros and teleios], holding on to [the former] in its first half, to [the latter] in it second.” Progressive sanctification affects all parts of the believer, leaving nothing missing—it is holokleros. It grows toward the end or goal (telos, te÷loß) of a relative perfection (teleios) in this life and to absolute perfection (teleios) in the life to come. Finally, Trench’s analysis of artios (a‡rtioß),[106] the word perfect in 2 Timothy 3:17,[107] is accurate and well-stated. The verse explains the perfection in question as being “throughly furnished” or completely equipped (e˙xarti÷zw)[108] “unto all good works.” As Trench affirms, the man of God is artios, “perfect,” when he has “not . . . the presence only of all the parts which are necessary for that completeness, but . . . [also the] adaptation and aptitude of these parts for the ends which they were designed to serve. The man of God, St. Paul would say (2Tim. iii. 17), [is artios when he is] furnished and accomplished with all which is necessary for the carrying out of the work to which he is appointed.”

The vivification of the believer appears in the words employed in the New Testament for the Christian’s progress toward perfection. The katardizo word group demonstrates that God perfects believers in their nature as He restores Christlikeness in them, resulting in their greater love, faith, and obedience. Their persons become more like Christ’s sinless humanity, and their actions become more like His perfectly holy actions. Similarly, the teleios word group illuminates the developing relative perfection of the believer as he grows more and more spiritually mature, until at length his relative perfection passes into the absolute perfection of the future glorified state. The Christian is spiritually renewed, vivified, and perfected as he communes with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as they are revealed to him through the Word of God and by the Spirit of God. He is sanctified in every part of his being (holokleros), grows toward being perfectly equipped (artios) to practice all good works, and progresses toward being wholly sanctified (holoteles). God makes the believer gradually “more perfect” as He leads him toward the holy end (telos) of the greatest possible earthly perfection and Christian maturity, and His faithfulness makes certain the believer’s attainment of the absolute perfection of the world to come.

7.) Vivification as Renewal Sourced in Regeneration

 

            Titus 3:4-7 indicates that salvation involves both the washing of regeneration (paliggenesi÷a) and the renewal (aÓnakai÷nwsiß)[109] of the Holy Ghost. The noun renewal appears, outside of Titus 3:5, only in Romans 12:2, where spiritual transformation[110] takes place by means of[111] “the renewing of [the saint’s] mind,” both for the purpose of and with the result that[112] the believer “may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The related verb for renewal, aÓnakaino/w,[113]appears in 2 Corinthians 4:16[114] and Colossians 3:10.[115] These texts indicate that God, the Creator of the new[116] spiritual principle within the believer[117] and Author and Source of all spiritual growth, progressively and daily renews the believer’s inward man[118] into His image.[119] Scripture emphasizes the mind (nouvß, Romans 12:2) and knowledge (e˙pi÷gnwsiß, Colossians 3:10) in the believer’s renewal. Thus, the command “be renewed [aÓnaneouvsqai][120] in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23)[121] closely parallels Romans 12:2’s “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” God progressively renews[122] the believer’s mind[123] in association with the old man being put off and the new being put on (Ephesians 4:22-24). While regeneration is the work of an instant, renewal begins with regeneration (Titus 3:5; Hebrews 6:6[124]) but continues throughout life until it is completed at glorification.[125]

            B. B. Warfield comments helpfully on the nature of Biblical renewal:

The terms “renew,” “renewing,” are not of frequent occurrence in our English Bible. In the New Testament they do not occur at all in the Gospels, but only in the Epistles [of Paul], where they stand, respectively, for the Greek terms aÓnakaino/w (2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10) with its cognates, aÓnakaini÷zw (Hebrews 6:6) and aÓnaneo/omai (Ephesians 4:23), and aÓnakai÷nwsiß (Romans 12:2; Titus 3:5). . . . [A] definite theological conception is embodied in these terms. This conception is that salvation in Christ involves a radical and complete transformation wrought in the soul (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23) by God the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 4:24), by virtue of which we become “new men” (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10), no longer conformed to this world (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9), but in knowledge and holiness of the truth created after the image of God (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; Romans 12:2). The conception, it will be seen, is a wide one, inclusive of all that is comprehended in what we now technically speak of as regeneration, renovation and sanctification. It embraces, in fact, the entire subjective side of salvation, which it represents as a work of God, issuing in a wholly new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10). . . .

[W]e observe two groups of terms standing over against one another, describing, respectively, from the manward and from the Godward side, the great change experienced by him who is translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love (Colossians 1:13). And within the limits of each of these groups, we observe also certain distinctions in the usage of the several terms which make it up. In the one group are such terms as metanoei√n with its substantive meta¿noia, and its cognate metame÷lesqai, and e˙pistre÷fein and its substantive e˙pistrofh/. These tell us what part man takes in the change. The other group includes such terms as gennhqhvnai a‡nwqen or ejk touv qeouv or ejk touv pneu/matoß, palingenesi/a, ajnagennavn, ajpokueivsqai, ananeouvsqai, ajnakainouvsqai, ajnakai/nwsiß. These tell what part God takes in the change. Man repents, makes amendment, and turns to God. But it is by God that men are renewed, brought forth, born again into newness of life. The transformation which to human vision manifests itself as a change of life (e˙pistrofh/) resting upon a radical change of mind (meta¿noia), to Him who searches the heart and understands all the movements of the human soul is known to be a creation (kti/zein) of God, beginning in a new birth from the Spirit (gennhqhvnai a‡nwqen e˙k touv Pneu/matoß) and issuing in a new divine product (poi÷hma), created in Christ Jesus, into good works prepared by God beforehand that they may be walked in (Ephesians 2:10).

There is certainly synergism here; but it is a synergism of such character that not only is the initiative taken by God (for “all things are of God,” 2 Corinthians 5:18, cf. Hebrews 6:6), but the Divine action is in the exceeding greatness of God’s power, according to the working of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead (Ephesians 1:19). The “new man” which is the result of this change is therefore one who can be described no otherwise than as “created” ktisqe÷nta) in righteousness and holiness of truth (Ephesians 4:24), after the image of God significantly described as “He who created him” (touv kti÷santoß aujto/n, Colossians 3:10), — that is not He who made him a man, but He who has made him by an equally creative efflux of power this new man which he has become. The exhortation that we shall “put on” this new man (Ephesians 4:24; cf. 3:9, 10), therefore does not imply that either the initiation or the completion of the process by which the “new creation” (kainh\ kti÷siß; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) is wrought lies in our own power; but only urges us to that diligent cooperation with God in the work of our salvation, to which He calls us in all departments of life (1 Corinthians 3:9), and the classical expression of which in this particular department is found in the great exhortation of Philippians 2:12, 13 where we are encouraged to work out our own salvation thoroughly to the end, with fear and trembling, on the express ground that it is God who works in us both the willing and doing for His good pleasure. The express inclusion of “renewal” in the exhortation (Ephesians 4:23 aÓnaneouvsqai; Romans 12: metamorfouvsqe thØv aÓnakainw¿sei) is indication enough that this “renewal” is a process wide enough to include in itself the whole synergistic “working out” of salvation (katerga¿zesqe, Philippians 2:12). But it has no tendency to throw doubt upon the underlying fact that this “working out” is both set in motion (to\ qe÷lein) and given effect (to\ e˙nergei√n), only by the energizing of God (oJ e˙nergw◊n e˙n uJmi√n), so that all (ta» pa¿nta) is from God (e˙k touv Qeouv, 2 Corinthians 5:18). . . . [T]he essence of the New Testament representation certainly is that the renewal which is wrought upon him who is by faith in Christ, is the work of the Spirit of Christ, who dwells within His children as a power not themselves making for righteousness, and gradually but surely transforms after the image of God, not the stream of their activities merely, but themselves in the very centre of their being. . . . [S]alvation consists in its substance of a radical subjective change wrought by the Holy Spirit, by virtue of which the native tendencies to evil are progressively eradicated and holy dispositions are implanted, nourished and perfected.[126]

As believers’ minds and persons are renewed by the Spirit through the Word, they become more Christlike and more separate from sin in their natures, actions, and attitudes, the moral image of God being restored in them.[127]

            As already indicated, renewal begins with the Divine work of regeneration (paliggenesi÷a, Titus 3:5). Regeneration, the instantaneous impartation of spiritual life and a new nature, is also described as being “born again” or “born from above” (gennhqhvnai a‡nwqen,[128] John 3:3),[129] begotten by God’s will (boulhqei«ß aÓpokeivsqai,[130] James 1:18)[131] and born or begotten again (aÓnagennavn,[132] 1 Peter 1:3, 23). The Holy Spirit imparts the new birth through the instrumentality of both “the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23)[133] which is “the word of truth” (James 1:18) and the sinner’s faith in Christ (John 3:3, 14-18), itself a product of the Spirit and the Word (1 Peter 1:22-23; Romans 10:17). Matthew 19:28,[134] the only text other than Titus 3:5 which employs the word regeneration, provides striking illumination on the nature of the new birth.[135] The cosmic regeneration spoken of by the Lord in Matthew 19 parallels the individual regeneration under consideration in Titus 3:5.[136] In individual regeneration, as in the Millennial earth, a radical difference takes place that mightily alters previous conditions. Satan is the ruler of this present world-system (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the unregenerate individual (Ephesians 2:1-3), but Christ will rule the Millennial earth and He currently rules both the individual regenerate man and the corporate body of the saints, the church. Nevertheless, neither in the saint, the church on earth, or the Millennial kingdom is sin absolutely and finally abolished—the final complete victory for the individual does not take place until his glorification, and the final victory over sin in the universe does not take place until the eternal state, the cosmic parallel to individual glorification.[137] Sin is not yet absolutely abolished in either individual or cosmic regeneration, but the shattered dominion of evil and predominant rule of Christ in the regenerate individual and earth are a foretaste and harbinger of certain ultimate victory in both spheres. Matthew 19:28 further demonstrates that cosmic regeneration transforms the entire creation—no portion of the universe is exempt from the radically different conditions (Isaiah 11; 65:20-25, etc.) that will exist during Christ’s thousand-year reign. So individual regeneration affects the entire person, spirit, soul, and body.[138] Nevertheless, the entire Millennial cosmos, although changed in all its parts, still evidences the existence and deleterious affects of sin in every portion; so no part of the regenerate individual is yet entirely free from sin.[139] Furthermore, entrance into both the personally regenerate state and the coming Millennial state is based upon union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 19:28 illustrates the truth that individual regeneration is an instanteous and supernatural work that makes a man new in all parts, although not completely new in any part; it is the impartation of a new nature that grows and develops through the renewal of progressive sanctification until God eradicates the final remnants of indwelling sin at glorification.[140]

The cosmic parallel to the process beginning at regeneration whereby God makes the individual believer holy is explicitly extended through glorification in Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22, where God indicates that His creation of new heavens and a new earth takes place in connection with the Millennium,[141] while 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1 (cf. Revelation 20:11; 21:5) identify the new heaven and new earth as the ultimate consummation of the eternal state, after the thousand-year reign of Christ. The Millennial kingdom is a new cosmos, a new heaven and earth—it is new in all its parts, but not new to the uttermost extent—total newness and absolute freedom from sin awaits the eternal state.

            Trench commented with insight on the distinction between regeneration (paliggenesi÷a) and renewal (aÓnakai÷nwsiß):

[F]irst[,] it is worth observing that while the word paliggenesi÷a is drawn from the realm of nature, aÓnakai÷nwsiß derives from that of art. A word peculiar to the Greek of the N. T., it occurs there only twice—once in connexion with paliggenesi÷a (Tit. iii. 5), and again at Rom. xii. 2; but we have the verb aÓnakaino/w, which also is exclusively a N. T. form, at 2 Cor. iv. 16; Col. iii. 10; and the more classical aÓnakaini÷zw, Heb. vi. 6, from which the nouns, frequent in the Greek [theologians], aÓnakainismo/ß and aÓnakai÷nisiß are more immediately drawn; we have also aÓnaneo/w at Ephes. iv. 23; all in similar uses. . . . Our Collect . . . expresses excellently well the relation in which the paliggenesi÷a and the aÓnakai÷nwsiß stand to each other; we there pray, ‘that we being regenerate,’ in other words, having been already made the subjects of the paliggenesi÷a, ‘may daily be renewed by the Holy Spirit,’ may continually know the aÓnakai÷nwsiß Pneu/matoß ÔAgi÷ou. In this Collect, uttering, as do so many, profound theological truth in forms at once the simplest and the most accurate, the new-birth is contemplated as already past, as having found place once for all, while the ‘renewal’ or ‘renovation’ is daily proceeding—being as it is that gradual restoration of the Divine image, which is ever going forward in him who, through the new-birth, has come under the transforming powers of the world to come. It is called ‘the renewal of the Holy Ghost,’ inasmuch as He is the efficient cause, by whom alone this putting on of the new man, and putting off the old, is brought about.

        These two then are bound by closest ties to one another; the second the following up, the consequence, the consummation of the first. The paliggenesi÷a is that free act of God’s mercy and Power, whereby He causes the sinner to pass out of the kingdom of darkness into that of light, out of death into life; it is the a‡nwqen gennhqhvnai, of John iii. 3; the gennhqhvnai e˙k qeouv of 1 John v. 4; the qeogenesi÷a of Dionysius the Areopagite and other Greek theologians; the gennhqhvnai e˙k spora◊ß aÓfqa¿rtou of 1 Pet. i. 23; in it that glorious word begins to be fulfilled, i˙dou\ kaina»[pa¿nta poiw◊] (Rev. xxi. 5). In it—not in the preparations for it, but in the act itself—the subject of it is passive, even as the child has nothing to do with its own birth. With the aÓnakai÷nwsiß, it is otherwise. This is the gradual conforming of the man more and more to that new spiritual world into which he has been introduced, and in which he now lives and moves; the restoration of the Divine image; and in all this, so far from being passive, he must be a fellow-worker with God. That was ‘regeneratio,’ this is ‘renovatio;’ which two must not be separated, but as little may be confounded, as Gerhard (Locc. Theoll. xxi. 7. 113) has well declared: ‘Renovatio, licet a regeneratione proprie et specialiter accepta distinguatur, individuo tamen et perpetuo nexu cum ea est conjuncta.’ What infinite perplexities, conflicts, scandals, obscurations of God’s truth on this side and on that, have arisen now from the confusing, and now from the separating, of these two![142]

Commenting on the same distinction between regeneration and renewal, B. B. Warfield wrote:

[I]t seems tolerably clear that over against the broader “renewal” expressed by ajnakainouvsqai and its cognates . . . aÓnagennavn (1 Peter 1:23) and with it, its synonym aÓpokeivsqai (James 1:18) are of narrower connotation. We have, says Peter, in God’s great mercy been rebegotten, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by means of the Word of the living and abiding God. It is in accordance with His own determination, says James, that we have been brought forth by the Father of Lights, from whom every good gift and every perfect boon comes, by means of the Word of truth. We have here an effect, the efficient agent in working which is God in His unbounded mercy, while the instrument by means of which it is wrought is “the word of good-tidings which has been preached” to us, that is to say, briefly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The issue is, equally briefly, just salvation. This salvation is characteristically described by Peter as awaiting its consummation in the future, while yet it is entered upon here and now not only [1 Peter 1:4ff.] as a “living hope” which shall not be put to shame (because it is reserved in heaven for us, and we meanwhile are guarded through faith for it by the power of God), but also in an accordant life of purity as children of obedience who would fain be like their Father and as He is holy be also ourselves holy in all manner of living. James intimates that those who have been thus brought forth by the will of God may justly be called “first fruits of His creatures,” where the reference assuredly is not to the first but to the second creation, that is to say, they who have already been brought forth by the word of truth are themselves the product of God’s creative energy and are the promise of the completed new creation when all that is shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:19sq., Matthew 19:28).

The new birth thus brought before us is related to the broader idea of “renewal” (ajnakai/nwsiß) as the initial stage to the whole process. . . . The notion of the new birth is confined even more closely still to its initial step in our Lord’s discourse to Nicodemus, recorded in the opening verses of the third chapter of John’s Gospel. Here the whole emphasis is thrown upon the necessity of the new birth and its provision by the Holy Spirit. No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he be born again; and this new birth is wrought by the Spirit. . . . The new birth appears to be brought before us in this discussion in the purity of its conception; and we are made to perceive that at the root of the whole process of “renewal” there lies an immediate act of God the Holy Spirit upon the soul by virtue of which it is that the renewed man bears the great name of son of God. Begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13), his new life will necessarily bear the lineaments of his new parentage (1 John 3:9, 10; 5:4, 18): kept by Him who was in an even higher sense still begotten of God, he overcomes the world by faith, defies the evil one (who cannot touch him), and manifests in his righteousness and love the heritage which is his (1 John 2:29, 4:7, 5:1). Undoubtedly the Spirit is active throughout the whole process of “renewal”; but it is doubtless the peculiarly immediate and radical nature of his operation at this initial point which gives to the product of His renewing activities its best right to be called a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), a quickening (John 5:21; Ephesians 2:5), a making alive from the dead (Galatians 3:21). . . . At the basis of all there lies an enabling act from God, by virtue of which alone the spiritual activities of man are liberated for their work (Romans 6:22, 8:2). From that moment of the first divine contact the work of the Spirit never ceases: while man is changing his mind and reforming his life, it is ever God who is renewing him in true righteousness. . . . It is the entirety of this process, viewed as the work of God on the soul, which the Scriptures designate “renewal.”[143]

Spiritual renewal thus encompasses both the initial bestowal of a new nature by God in regeneration and the believer’s growth in Christlikeness and holiness through the mortification of indwelling sin and vivification of Divinely imparted new life. God progressively renews His people into the image of Christ throughout the entirety of their earthly Christian pilgrimage until their indwelling sin is finally utterly extirpated through their glorification.

To lost sinners:

1.) Have you been regenerated? Are you different the way the Millennial earth is different from this earth? When did it happen? This is what the new birth is—and without the new birth, you will never enter heaven.

2.) You must want to be different the way that the Millennial earth is different. You must want Jesus Christ to be your Lord, to have a new heart, to be holy. It is not enough that you don’t want hell. When you receive Christ, you are united to Him and get all that He is, and you must want this.

3.) You cannot just wait to be saved until whenever you want. GOD renews you unto repentance. You are saved when God permits, Hebrews 6:3. If you put off repentance and faith, you are in severe danger of being cast off forever by God and never being renewed unto repentance.

4.) Why will you cling to this fading world, instead of having all that we discussed in this message?

To saints:

1.) Ephesians 1:18-19: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

2.) Renewal, as regeneration, is a supernatural work of God. Do not think that you renew yourself, or take any glory to yourself in this work; ascribe it all to God.

3.) Expect God to renew you completely, body, soul, and spirit, as you cooperate with Him. Low views of what God does in you will hinder your sanctification. If you think God does not actually make you any more holy, but leaves you unchanged from the time you are saved until glory, you are not going to be renewed as you ought. Expect God to renew you and cooperate with Him by using the means of sanctification.

2.) Understand, treasure, and glory in the greatness of Jesus Christ, the One who brings all this to pass. See how all of the created universe, all redeemed humanity, this creation, the new creation, all, all centers in Him. How do you treat Jesus Christ? Are you brazen enough to not keep His commandments, but hold on to sin? Will you not love and serve this One, Jesus Christ?

3.) Has He brought you into union with Himself, bringing you into this glorious redemption that is centered in Him in such a great way? Will you not then fulfill His purposes for you?

4.) Will you choose this world and sin over Him? Will you choose to not further this work of renewal in you in the greatest possible way? Why will you choose dust that will perish over renewal by Jesus Christ?

II. The Prerequisites for Vivification

            Scripture presents certain prerequsites for effective progress[144] in mortification and vivification. While God never ceases to work in a variety of ways in the lives of His people, the Christian’s fulfillment of certain conditions prepares the way for much greater progress in holiness than they would otherwise experience. Effective use of the means of mortification and vivification require that the Christian is, first, right with God.

1.) Be Right With God

In important conjunction with the progressive and incomplete ethical eradication of indwelling sinfulness in the believer through progressive sanctification is the clear Biblical distinction between the believer who is right with God and the one who is backslidden. Progressive sanctification contains both an aspect of a continuum of growth and an aspect that is either entirely present or not. No believer on earth has reached the endpoint of the entire elimination of indwelling sin and perfect renewal of the image of Christ within him; the saints on earth are all at various stages of growth, having within them differing ethical elements of light and darkness. However, Scripture likewise teaches a clear distinction between those believers who are right with God and those who are not.

Every Christian . . . has a “pure” heart in [that he is regenerate and has the new heart that is the possession of all who enter heaven, Psalm 24:3-4; Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 8:8-12].But every Christian does not have a “clean” heart (Psalm 51:10) [in another sense].[145] That which pollutes the heart of a Christian is unjudged sin. Whenever sin is allowed by us, communion with God is broken, and pollution can only be removed, and communion restored, by genuine repentance—a condemning of ourselves, a mourning over the sin, and unsparing confession of the same, accompanied by a fervent desire and sincere resolution not to be overtaken by it again. The willing allowance and indulgence of any known sin cannot exist with a clean heart. [Such] . . . repentance . . . is as necessary [to] the continuance of spiritual life, as faith itself[.] After the repentance and confession, there must be a fresh (and constant) recourse unto that Fountain which has been “opened for sin and for uncleanness,” a fresh application by faith of the cleansing blood of Christ: pleading its merits and efficacy before God.[146]

The Biblical description of sanctification as “building up”[147] illustrates both the aspects of continunity and of total possession or absence in spiritual life. A building that is progressively being built is not an all-or-nothing proposition—the edifice grows gradually. However, buildings may be built at a faster or slower rate, or even begin to decay or be actively dismantled. The believer who is right with God is being built up as a spiritual building—a growth that can happen at different rates—but the backslider, the believer who is not right with God, is contributing to the decay of his building through neglect or is actively taking his building down. Rather than achieving ever greater progress, he is sliding backwards, progressively falling away from God. While the completion of a building is a process, any particular structure is either in the process of being built up or being taken down—building, in this sense, is an all-or-nothing proposition. In this sense, particular believers are either making spiritual progress or they are in decline; they are either right with God or are backsliding. Either their new nature or their indwelling sin is growing stronger; they either have a clear conscience or they do not have one; they are either wilfully holding on to sin or they are not doing so. Progress in sanctification requires that the believer be right with God.

            The distinction between the clean or pure-hearted[148] Christian and the backslider is clear throughout the canon. The history of Israel demonstrates that the question “Is thine heart right[?]” could be put to the godly, with the appropriate answer being “It is” (2 Kings 10:15).[149] A right or upright heart,[150] which is a gift of grace given by God (1 Chronicles 29:19), was manifested in “zeal for the LORD” (2 Kings 10:16) and His worship and institutions (cf. 2 Kings 10:15-16, 27-28, 30; Psalm 111:1), and a heart that was conformed to God’s heart (10:30). The “upright in heart . . . follow . . . righteousness” (Psalm 94:15; cf. 97:11). Their “words [are of] the uprightness of [their] heart: and [their] lips . . . utter knowledge” (Job 33:3), as their “uprightness of heart” is a product of “hav[ing] learned [God’s] righteous judgments,” the content of Scripture (Psalm 119:7). Their worship is also in the “uprightness of [their] heart” as they “willingly offe[r]” to the Lord (1 Chronicles 29:17). “David, who kept [God’s] commandments, and who followed [Him] with all his heart, to do that only which was right in [His] eyes” (1 Kings 14:8), had such an upright heart. While David was no sinless man, but one who prayed: “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults” (Psalm 19:12), nonetheless he did not willfully and deliberately turn away from God to iniquity, except in his adultery with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba and the events associated with it—hence Scripture states: “David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5). Thus, with the exception of “the matter of Uriah the Hittite,” the heart of “David . . . was . . . perfect[151] with the LORD his God” (1 Kings 15:3). Having a right heart was not a matter of absolute sinlessness, but of “uprightness” (1 Kings 9:4), of not wilfully holding on to any sin—the right-hearted determine to follow God’s ways rather than willfully turning aside after iniquity, but it would still be appropriate for them to say, in every prayer they make, “forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4; Matthew 6:12). The believer who is right with God can state: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer” (Psalm 66:18-19). A necessary condition to the answer of prayer is being right with God, not regarding iniquity in one’s heart, that is, not seeing iniqutity with pleasure, or aiming at, designing, or having iniquity in one’s eye[152]—nonetheless, the saint who is right with God still receives answers to prayer only because of “mercy” (Psalm 66:20), not merit. In contrast to David’s determination in every inward and outward area to obey God, one could do “that which was right in the sight of the LORD” in an outward way, “but not with a perfect heart” (2 Chronicles 25:2), and certain people could be “more upright in heart to sanctify themselves”[153] (2 Chronicles 29:34) than others. Although they are not free from indwelling sin (cf. Deuteronomy 9:5), those who are “upright in heart” (Psalm 11:2; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10) are “good” (Psalm 125:4) in that they are walking uprightly and with a godly understanding (Proverbs 15:21), not willfully clinging to sin. They trust in the Lord and have no “iniquity in [their] hands,” so they can pray: “judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:10, 1, 3-4, 8; cf. Psalm 26:1).

          Similarly, those with a “perfect heart”[154] “walk in [the LORD’s] statutes, and . . . keep his commandments” (1 Kings 8:61). “Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD all his days” (1 Kings 15:14), in that his life was characterized by well-rounded[155] and sincere obedience,[156] although he certainly sinned, indeed, on particular occasions seriously (2 Chronicles 16). Hezekiah could honestly pray: “I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked[157]before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight” (2 Kings 20:3; Isaiah 38:3). The service of a “perfect heart and . . . a willing mind”[158] (1 Chronicles 28:9) were associated, for a “perfect heart” was one of sincerity—thus, when the “men of war . . . came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel” (1 Chronicles 12:38), they were not sinless, but they were free from duplicity in their intention to set up David as king. Worship with “a perfect heart” is associated with “offer[ing] willingly”[159] (1 Chronicles 29:9). A believer can have a perfect heart during one period of his life but not in another; “Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father” (1 Kings 3:3) in the early part of his reign, walking humbly (1 Kings 3:6-10; 8:22-66) before Jehovah his God (1 Kings 5:4-5), so that the Lord gave him “wise and an understanding heart” (3:12; cf. 4:29-34; 10:23-24) above all other men and used the king to inspire portions of the canon (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes); however, “when Solomon was old . . . his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. . . . And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel . . . [and he no longer] kept [the LORD’s] covenant and . . . statutes” (1 Kings 11:4-11).[160] Instead of his heart being “incline[d]”[161] to the LORD (1 Kings 8:58), his heart was now “turned away” (1 Kings 11:2, 4) after other supreme loves and thus “his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel” (1 Kings 11:9), to do evil (1 Kings 11:6-7) and no longer go fully after Him (1 Kings 11:6). Thus, while sometimes the upright or perfect in heart are all those who “trust . . . in the LORD” and are “righteous” by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness as their legal standing and the impartation of inward holiness, and as such are contrasted with the “wicked” who will dwell eternally in “fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest” (Psalm 11; cf. Psalm 32:11, 1-10; 36:10; 125:1-5), and so in one sense all the people of God have upright hearts, in another sense believers can fall into sin and lose their upright hearts.[162]

Job was by no means sinless and perfect like God his Father was (Job 40:4; 42:6), yet he was “perfect” in that he was “upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1; cf. 1:8-9),[163] one who in spite of exceedingly difficult trials “sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (1:22) but, as concerning His tribulations, “did not . . . sin with his lips” (2:10), but instead “retain[ed] [his] integrity” (2:9).[164] His relationship to God, his heart, and his life were characterized by completeness, soundness, and wholeness towards holiness and the Holy One, by sincerity, integrity, and honesty, by freedom from sinful blemishes[165] in heart towards Him[166]—Job was not intentionally acting in wilful disobedience in any area. Consequently, Job’s prayers and worship were acceptable to God (42:9-10), and the Lord blessed him (42:12). Had Job given in to temptation, he would have fallen from his state of uprightness and integrity to no longer be right with God. He who has a right or “perfect” heart is “undefiled” (Song 5:2), walks in “integrity of heart, and in uprightness” (1 Kings 9:4; Psalm 78:72), in “the integrity of [his] heart and innocency of [his] hands” (Genesis 20:5-6), free from intentional and wilful sin, although not sinless (Genesis 20:3-9). He behaves wisely, desires communion with Jehovah, and maintains purity in his household so he can maintain a perfect heart there (Psalm 101:2). He sets or deliberately places before him no wicked thing, but hates wickedness and the wicked and is determined that they will be separated from him (101:3-5, 7-8), especially in what pertains to the worship of the Lord (101:8), choosing rather as his companions the faithful who walk “in a perfect way” (101:6). His heart is not froward, crooked, or twisted, but he is upright in his way (Proverbs 11:20). His “heart [is] sound in [God’s] statutes” (Psalm 119:80). His walk is upright, his heart is truthful, and his actions righteous (Psalm 15:2; cf. 15:3-5). His all-around sincerity and desire for the literal perfection of the holy character of God is his submissive response to the command: “Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 15:13).

            The heart that is right with God is also “prepare[d] . . . unto the LORD” (1 Samuel 7:3).[167] Sinning believers must turn from whatever they idolatrously regard as more important than God, “return unto the LORD with all [their] hearts . . . prepare [their] hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only” (1 Samuel 7:3). Job 11:13-14 describes repentance as preparing of the heart: “If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward [God]; if iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.” Such a preparation or establishment of the heart is a gift of Divine grace; thus, the desire and prayer of the humble is that Jehovah would prepare and perfect their heart and the heart of others (1 Chronicles 29:18-19; Psalm 10:17), for a “clean heart” and a “right spirit,” prepared for fellowship with the Lord, are the product of a supernatural creative act[168] of God in His people (Psalm 51:10).[169] If God does not sustain His people by His grace, their indwelling sin will lead them to fall (2 Chronicles 32:31), with terrible consequences (2 Chronicles 32:25-26; 2 Kings 20:12-18). The “fixed” or established heart “will sing and give praise” (Psalm 57:7; 108:1). One who “is stablished . . . cannot be moved” easily into rebellion and sin (cf. Psalm 93:1; 112:6-8); “his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD” (Psalm 112:7). He can have God powerfully working in his life and ministry, as Ezra had “the good hand of his God upon him[,] [f]or [he] had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:9-10; cf. 2 Chronicles 19:13). Indeed, while outward nonconformity to Divine standards are sinful and in need of pardon (2 Chronicles 30:18-20), the Lord is merciful to “every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed” outwardly as he ought (2 Chronicles 30:19), indicating that one can have a heart that is right with God and sincere before Him while he yet lacks a great deal of knowledge of Biblical precepts and is not outwardly obedient because of a lack of instruction. On the other hand, a man will do “evil, because he prepare[s] not his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14), and righteous deeds are hindered (2 Chronicles 20:33a) because “people ha[ve] not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 20:33b). Those who do not establish their hearts, who “set not their heart aright, and whose spirit [is] not stedfast with God,” are “stubborn and rebellious,” and “their heart [is] not right with [God]” (Psalm 78:8, 37). The Lord blesses[170] those among His people who have upright, clean, and prepared hearts for Him, and withholds His full blessing from those of His own who do not.

            Those among the people of God who are not right with God are “backsliding”[171] (Hosea 4:16)—they are in wilful and deliberate sin, stubbornly and rebelliously[172] holding on to iniquity, and consequently those who “set not their heart aright” (Psalm 78:8),[173] and are spiritually decaying and becoming weaker. Backsliding[174] is refusing to hearken to God as He speaks in His Word, instead acting like a stubborn ox that will not allow a yoke on its neck and obey its master (Nehemiah 9:29; Hosea 4:16; Zechariah 7:11). Since such rebellion against God is characteristic of the unconverted, the “backsliding” are regularly lost people (Isaiah 65:2),[175] those who “believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation” (Psalm 78:8, 22) and are in need of saving conversion (Psalm 78:7a) even if they are outwardly identified with the Lord (Psalm 78:35).[176] However, as Scripture both speaks of all the saints as those who are right with God, and identifies only those who are walking uprightly among His own as right with God in another sense, so while the backsliding or rebellious are regularly the unsaved, at times those who are truly converted are spoken of as backsliding.[177] Thus, while the unsaved will backslide or “go back” from God (Psalm 53:3; Zephaniah 1:6),[178] and will reap the evil eternal consequences of their sin, since “the backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways” (Proverbs 14:14),[179] nonetheless believers can likewise backslide (Psalm 80:18).[180] Indeed, the saints, because of their indwelling sin, would certainly be turned back[181] were they not the recipients of sustaining grace from Jehovah; their flesh is bent to backsliding (Hosea 11:7; Isaiah 57:17), so they appropriately pray, “quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:18b-19). Because God quickens them, turns them, and causes His face to shine upon them, they can say, “so will not we go back from thee” (Psalm 80:18a). Further, all of the supernatural power of God exerted upon His people to keep them from backsliding is only bestowed upon the saints for Christ’s sake—thus, they pray: “Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man[182] whom thou madest strong for thyself. So will not we go back from thee” (Psalm 80:17-18a). As God quickens His own for the sake of Christ, they also can follow the example of the incarnate Messiah, who said: “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back” (Isaiah 50:5).[183] Strengthened by God to remain right with Him, His obedient people consequently say: “[W]e [have] not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. Our heart is not turned back,[184] neither have our steps declined from thy way” (Psalm 44:17-18).

            Those without spiritual strength backslide[185] (Proverbs 1:32). Backsliding can increase (Jeremiah 5:6) in degree, becoming worse and worse (Jeremiah 14:7) as one slides backwards further and further, until it is “perpetual” as one continually “refuse[s] to return” (Jeremiah 8:5). Israel’s backsliding was “wickedness . . . an evil thing and bitter,” a result of having “forsaken the LORD thy God” and of not having His “fear . . . in thee” (Jeremiah 2:19). It is a rejection of God’s call and a refusal to exalt Him (Hosea 11:7), holding fast to deceit instead of to the Lord (Jeremiah 8:5). Backsliding is spiritual infidelity (Jeremiah 3:6) that leads to the commission of outward wickedness. It contains within itself the seeds of judgment and evil for the one or the group that engages in it (Jeremiah 2:19). The backslidden saint will lose his closeness and communion with his God, the backsliding professor without Christ is in danger of having his rejection of grace eternally confirmed to him, and the backsliding church is in danger of ceasing to be the place of the special presence of God (Revelation 2:5), as the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were rejected by God, and finally, in connection with the inaguration of the dispensation of grace, Israel as a whole was rejected for the church (Jeremiah 3:8-11; Romans 11). Backsliding brings the unstable believer chastisement and the lost destruction (Proverbs 1:32).

The backsliding of the nation of Israel presents a pattern for the nature of backsliding and restoration into a state of being right with God.[186] Backsliding requires that one fall from a previously present condition of some sort of unity with Jehovah, whether from the state of genuine fellowship with the Lord possessed by the justified who are right with God, or from the state of outward or civil union with God that the unconverted but formally obedient Israelite possessed through his circumcision and formal conformity to his national covenant, or from some other state of connection with God that is renounced.[187] Israel was restored from a backslidden condition by the repentance of the true people of God within the nation and the evangelical conversion or at least the restored civil conformity to the Law by the unsaved in Israel. Restoration from a backslidden state is a gift of God’s grace, given to the people of God for His name’s sake, not because they deserve restoration (Jeremiah 14:7). God determines, “I will heal their backsliding,” not because of their merit, but because “I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4). He “heals their backsliding” because His “anger is turned away” (Hosea 14:4) from them—free love and a removal of Divine anger is the cause of the gracious work of the Lord to heal the backsliding of His own. Jehovah says, “I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger . . . for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee,” and therefore He says of His own, “They shall walk after the LORD” (Hosea 11:9-10; cf. Jeremiah 3:19). The saints do not first return to God, and then have Him love them, but their return is the result of sovereign and free love that draws them to repentance while they are yet in their rebellious and backslidden state. They hear the Lord call to them: “[T]hou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 3:1). They recognize the magnitude of their sin and the justice of their God’s chastisement of them (Jeremiah 3:2-3, 6ff.). They turn to God, not “feignedly,” but “with [their] whole heart” (Jeremiah 3:10); the fact of God’s continuing love for and goodness towards them while in their sin overwhelms them with shame at their iniquity and draws them to return to Him, in accordance with God’s supernaturally working within them to lead them to freely and wholeheartedly turn to Him. Jehovah calls, “Turn, O backsliding[188] children . . . for I am married unto you. . . . Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings,” and they respond, “Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God” (Jeremiah 3:14, 22).

            The New Testament maintains the distinction between the believer who is right with God and the one who is backsliding[189] that is taught in the Old Testament, while also following the Old Testament in affirming that, in another sense, all believers are right with God, while those who are not right are unconverted. Peter warned Simon the sorceror, “thy heart is not right in the sight of God,”[190] and consequently Simon was going to “perish . . . in the bond of iniquity” unless he repented and was truly converted (Acts 8:20-23). Simon, and all the unregenerate, are warned that they are not right with God and are set in contrast to all who are born again. On the other hand, all believers are “washed” and “clean every whit,” but they still need to wash their feet (John 13:10). All believers are pure in heart[191] and will see God (Matthew 5:8; Titus 1:15) and all have “good”[192] hearts because they are “good men” (Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45), for God purified their hearts at the moment of their faith and regeneration (Acts 15:9).[193] Nevertheless, not all, in another sense, have a pure heart (1 Timothy 1:5; cf. 1 Peter 1:22[194]). A believer’s heart can be “hardened,” hindering his spiritual understanding (Mark 6:52; 8:17),[195] so that he is “slow of heart” to believe and receive truth (Luke 24:25),[196] but a strong believer can be a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), one who has greatly set apart or sanctified the Lord in his heart (1 Peter 3:15). The believer’s heart can either convict him as guilty or not condemn him (1 John 3:20-21),[197] based on his manifestation of inward and outward Christlikeness (1 John 3:18-22). Double-minded and sinning believers are consequently commanded to cleanse their hands and purify their hearts (James 4:8), and walk in the light in order to experience continued cleansing from the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7).[198] Some believers are filled with the Spirit, others are not (Ephesians 5:18). The Old Testament doctrine that backsliders may be either unconverted persons or sinning believers appears in the New Testament fact that he who is placed under church discipline is treated as a heathen man and a publican (Matthew 18:15-20), that is, he is treated like an unregenerate person, although he may not in fact be unconverted, so that repentance and restoration can restore a disciplined member to the church body without a second call to new birth (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:5-8). Some believers can fail to be right with God, partake of the Lord’s Supper “unworthily”[199] (1 Corinthians 11:27, 29) and so bring judgment and chastisement upon themselves (1 Corinthians 11:29-32), having failed to properly examine[200] themselves (1 Corinthians 11:28) and act upon what they were enabled to discover, while other believers, those who are right with God, are, through Divine grace, worthy partakers. Some believers are counted worthy[201] (2 Thessalonians 1:11) in certain areas of spiritual life, and others are not. Not all the saints “walk worthy”[202] of their heavenly vocation to the same degree (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12), or conduct their lifestyle in a worthy way (Philippians 1:27) even though God has foreordained that all believers have a holy walk (Ephesians 2:10), so some degree of the worthiness that is appropriate to the saints of God (Romans 16:2; 3 John 6) will appear in the lives of all the elect. Believers who are wilfully allowing inward or outward sin[203] to fester do not have the “true heart” that is required for acceptable worship (Hebrews 10:22),[204] unlike believers who are upright and sincere before God in all areas of life and strive after the universal mortification of their sin. Furthermore, as in the Old Testament restoration from backsliding is a fruit of supernatural, preceding, sovereign grace, not a mere self-creation of the human will, so in the New Testament the restoration of saints from a backsliding condition, as their wider preservation and perseverence, is a fruit of the preceding, unmerited, free love and grace of Jesus Christ, their High Priest and effectual Mediator (John 17; Luke 22:32[205]).

            While all unregenerate men have a defiled conscience[206] (Titus 1:15), they can nonetheless either be condemned (John 8:9) or acquitted by their conscience (Acts 23:1; Romans 2:15; 2 Timothy 1:3) as they either meet or fall short of its standard, something they can do to the point that they cauterize their conscience (1 Timothy 4:2). Comparably, while believers cannot sear their consciences, and they all have a conscience that has been cleansed by Christ (Titus 1:15), they can nonetheless either have a clear (Acts 23:1; 24:16; Romans 9:1; 2 Timothy 1:3) or a condemning conscience (1 Corinthians 8:7-12;[207] Romans 14:20-23) for either specific acts (Romans 9:1; 13:5; 1 Corinthians 8:7-12; 10:25-29; 1 Peter 2:19) or for their overall state (Acts 24:16) as being upright before God or backsliding. Thus, all believers have a “good” or “pure” conscience in the same sense that all believers are right with God, but all the saints do not all have a “good” or “pure” conscience in that some believers are growing and others are backsliding (1 Timothy 1:5, 19; 3:9; 2 Timothy 1:3; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 3:16, 21). A pure conscience marks all believers who are right with God; all upright Christians, all who seek for a universal, unexceptioned mortification of their sin, possess such a clean conscience, while all who are willfully holding on to or permitting sin in their lives have lost their clear conscience and have fallen from the state of being right with God. Believers who are right with God, and therefore have a clear conscience, can “rejoic[e] [in] . . . the testimony of [their] conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, [they] have had [their] conversation in the world, and more abundantly” towards other believers (2 Corinthians 1:12). In that they are not consciously and wilfully holding on to sin, they have “no more conscience of sins” as none come to their “remembrance”; their conscience is “clean”[208] rather than being an “evil conscience” (Hebrews 9:9, 14; 10:2-3; 22).[209]

            Baptists have historically accepted the existence of both the Biblical distinction between believers who are right with God and those who are not and the distinction between those who, as God’s people, are eternally right with God, in contrast to the unregenerate, who abide in death.[210] In the recognition that only believers who are free from allowed and willful sin are, in one sense, right with God, they are generally followed[211] by advocates of Keswick theology and certain other Higher Life theologies of sanctification,[212] whose proponents typically emphasize the Scriptural fact of the difference between believers who are walking in fellowship with the Lord and those who are not, as well as the necessity of calling the backsliding to a crisis of repentance and restoration of conscious and close fellowship with God. Unfortunately, Higher Life advocates tend to emphasize the contrast between the believer who is right with God and the one who is not but minimize the progressive transformation of the entire person of the Christian through progressive sanctification. In contrast, many proponents of Reformed theology, especially paedobaptists, tend to emphasize the progressive transformation involved in sanctification but restrict the term “right with God” to a contrast between the saved and the lost,[213] neglecting the clearly Biblical distinction between the upright and backslidden believer and thus seriously hindering spiritual growth. Sound Baptist theology has recognized the Biblical fact emphasized by the Reformed that all the justified are legally and perfectly right with God because of the imputed righteousness of Christ, while all are at different stages in the progressive transformation of their entire person into the moral likeness of Christ. Baptists have also recognized the Biblical fact that, as emphasized by Keswick and some other Higher Life theology, in another sense only some believers are right with God, walking before Him in uprightness and free from presumptuous and wilful disobedience.

However, the Biblical and Baptist doctrine of being right with God differs from the Keswick doctrine of full surrender, for both the requirement for and the results promised for those right with God in Scripture differ from those affirmed by the Keswick theology.[214] The Biblical requirement for being right with God is a sincere, universal, unexceptioned seeking after the mortification of all sin, so that the believer is not deliberately allowing or holding on to sin in his life. The results of being right with God are the Spirit’s work of continued progress in the eradication of indwelling sin and strengthening of inner holiness, resulting in progressively greater closeness to, fellowship with, and likeness to the Lord. Nonetheless, within the believer who is right with God, the flesh still continually lusts after the Spirit, as the Spirit does against the flesh, and the believer recognizes that he has not yet reached the perfect and absolute holiness that he desires and is seeking after (Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:14-25). He humbly recognizes that even his best and most holy actions and desires are defiled by his remaining indwelling sin and require cleansing by the great High Priest who bears the iniquity of even the holy things of His people (Exodus 28:38). He maintains a continued watchfulness against his indwelling sin, humbles himself for it, and strives ever the more to put it to death (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5). The Keswick doctrine affirms that after a full surrender, one enters into a higher life that has moved beyond the state described by the Apostle Paul of his Christian life in Romans 7:14-25, so that all struggle with sin is over. Indeed, striving against sin is spiritually dangerous. Being right with God, in the Higher Life theology, brings with it a complete counteraction of the motions of indwelling sin. One must no longer be conscious of any sin within his heart[215]—indeed, one who still feels an inward struggle with sin has not fully surrendered or entered into the blessing of the victorious life. While king David said, “my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3), the Higher Life doctrine frowns upon and seeks to deny the existence of the struggle against indwelling sin that, Scripturally, one grows the more aware of the more like the Lord he grows.[216] The faith-based, Christ-dependent strife against sin which characterizes the believer who is Biblically right with od is replaced with a eudaemonistic “perfect rest”[217] that, by discouraging active mortification and striving against sin, seriously harms spiritual progress in the saints by ignoring the activity of the indwelling enemy within and makes their spiritual life shallow. Furthermore, it contributes to spiritual confusion. The believer who adopts the Higher Life doctrine, yet recognizes that Galatians 5:17 is still characteristic of his state after his sincere surrender to the Lord, is made to think that he is not really right with God, forcing him into a morbid introspection to see what he has not truly surrendered. Since he never will, in this life, enter a state when Romans 7:14-25 and Galatians 5:17 become things of the past, he is in great danger of growing spiritually frustrated and hopeless as his repeated attempts at “full surrender” never bring him into the promised state of freedom from all the workings of indwelling sin. On the other hand, a believer who convinces himself that he has truly entered into a state where indwelling sin is entirely counteracted must ignore the reality and effects of his sinful flesh, which continue to lust against the Spirit despite his erroneous affirmation to the contrary, which both gives the flesh greater opportunity to work and lends itself to a sinful pride. Thankfully, the believer who has met the Biblical requirements can have confidence that he is indeed right with God, rejoice in the Biblical promise of progressive victory over indwelling corruption and all its manifestations, and not trouble himself about the chimera of the Higher Life. The Bible-believing Baptist should reject both the Reformed and Higher Life errors on being right with God, and wholeheartedly embrace the Biblical truth that the upright and sincere Christian, one who is not willfully allowing and tolerating sin, is right with God and can make tremendous progress spiritually as the Holy Spirit supernaturally produces spiritual growth within him as he walks with the Lord and strives against sin.

Application of the Doctrine of Being Right with God

            The question, then, arises: are you right with God? “[T]hus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5, 7).[218] Consider closely your way in general. Are you allowing sin to flourish in your life? Consider your particular courses of action. Do you live an upright Christian life at home, at work, at church, in your family, and in all other relations? Would those who know you best say you are right with God, or not? Have you chosen sin over righteousness, the way of the devil instead of the way of God? Is sin a pleasant thing to you, or do you love and desire pureness of heart?

            If you are not right with God, but are backsliding, why do you persist in such vile rebellion? Why will you allow sin to fester and grow in your life? Will you deliberately set your affection upon that which is the greatest evil in the world, sin, rather than upon what is the greatest good in the universe, God, and what is of the greatest value to you, holiness? Will you prefer the image of the devil to the image of God? What sort of idolatry is this? Will you be doubleminded, and halt between two opinions, about whether you prefer to grow in wickedness or Christlikeness? Do you not see how vile and abominable is anything less than wholehearted, devoted, entire consecration to God? Why will you hesitate?

Consider some of the evils that will come on you for your refusal to be right with God.

1.) Such rebellion brings upon you severe chastisement. Physical scourging is a very painful and awful experience; will you, then, bring upon yourself a terrible scourging by the Omnipotent Holy One (Hebrews 12:6)?

2.) Sin has its own awful consequences built into it. Its pleasures are but for a short season, while the sorrow and regret it brings are eternal.

3.) Allowing sin to control your life is utterly foolish. People do many things that evidence a serious lack of intelligence. Tolerating and choosing sin, however, makes you a greater fool than all the people who manifest their lack of intelligence in the affairs of this life. Esau was a fool when he traded the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25:29-34), a fact he recognized later with bitter tears, to no avail (Hebrews 12:17). When you choose to forsake eternal, ineffably great blessings from the God of heaven to hold onto your sin, you place yourself among the greatest of all fools.

            4.) Your toleration of sin brings you into a terrible blindness, as you do not recognize what awful evil and terrible defilement you are bringing yourself into.

            5.) Your rejection of being right with God eliminates your fellowship with God and your ability to pray and have your prayers answered. God wishes to give you more good things than you can ask or think in answer to prayer, but you will refuse all of your Father’s good gifts, considering, instead, your sin the greater value. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15). Will you persist in your pride and ungodliness, or humble yourself and return to fellowship with that Holy One who has placed a love for and desire to seek for Himself within you?

            6.) Your backsliding harms others as well. You are not able to minister to others spiritually. You will be accountable at Christ’s judgment seat for the blood of the souls you did not win because you were not right with God. You will be accountable for the spiritual shipwreck in the lives of many of God’s dear children who were influenced by your hypocricy and bad example. You should expect an ungodly seed, since you cannot, like Jonadab, trust the Lord for a godly seed that will be a joy to you in later years (2 Kings 10:15; Jeremiah 35:19; Proverbs 22:6).

            7.) In summary, your backsliding brings upon you everything that is evil, and withholds from you everything that is good.

            It is unnatural for a believer not to be right with God; that is the natural state of the enemies of God, and those who fall back are to be treated like unconverted persons. God has established a covenant with you, to give you a new heart and a new spirit. He has chosen you out of the world that you might be like His Son. Why should an heir of heaven act like an heir of hell? If you abide for some time in this state, you should fear your Father’s chastisement. If you can persistently abide in a state of rebellion, unchastised, you are an empty professor, not one of the Father’s children. Fear, then, fear greatly, the avenging Justice of God, who will destroy both your soul and your body in hell. The worst for you, worst by far, is yet to come, for the smoke of your torment will ascend for ever and ever, and you will have no rest day or night, but experience the full weight of the fierceness and fury of your Almighty enemy. Repent, and believe the gospel! Do not delay, for you do not have inherent ability to respond favorably to the Lord. Yes, you will only come to Christ if God permits (Hebrews 6:3).

           Indeed, just as an unregenerate person can only come to Christ if the Father draws him (John 6:44), so for the backsliding believer the restoration of a right heart is a supernatural product of God’s Almighty grace (Psalm 51:10). Therefore, the time for you to get right with God is now, not later. Do not presume upon the grace of God, for ability to get right is from Him, comes from His supernatural energy working in you. If He leaves you to yourself, you will fall, 2 Chronicles 32:31. If even a righteous man like Hezekiah, when not right with God, had as his punishment that his sons would be eunuchs and all that he and his fathers had stored up would be taken away, what will happen to you if you are not right with God?

Learn also from Hezekiah’s example, oh Christian who is right with God, how much you must beware of pride when God especially manifests His grace to you or uses you, for Hezekiah’s pride and fall took place after an astonishing Divine miracle in response to his prayer, where not only was marvelously healed from a deadly sickness, but the day itself was lengthened. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41), especially when God has in a particular way manifested Himself to you. Do not let pride well up within your heart. Remember that it is a law that, when you would in particular seek to do good, then evil is present with you (Romans 7:21).[219]

Most importantly, oh backsliding Christian, meditate upon the fact that not having a right heart greatly dishonors your Redeemer. The Father has had your holiness on His heart from eternity, predestinating you to it; He sent His Son to die for you; He has given you His Spirit to sanctify you. Why will you resist Him? Will you sin, and thus identify yourself with those who crucified Christ, since sin is the reason for His death? When the Father has been so gracious as to adopt you into His family; when Christ has condescended to such an extent that He would leave His everlasting glory and unite His Divine Person to a human nature identical to yours, sin only excepted, and then drink to the dregs the cup of wrath that you had earned at the hand of Divine Justice; when the Holy Spirit has made you, a poor wretched sinner, into His holy temple, so that your body is as the holy inner sanctum of the Old Testament tabernacle, how can you permit sin to grow unresisted in your members? What wretched ingratitude is this! Will not the goodness of God move you to repentance? Will you not humble yourself greatly before God, and in tears turn from your backsliding? Consider that your Father, from whom you are running, loves you with an infinite, eternal, unchangeable, love still—yes, that He loves you, unholy as you are, as He loves His spotlessly holy incarnate Son (John 17:23).[220] Rather than casting you off for your crimes—infinite crimes, the least of which merits ineffably awful wrath in the eyes of the Holy One—Jehovah calls to you, “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you. . . . Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” (Jeremiah 3:14, 22a). Respond, then, and say, “Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God” (Jeremiah 3:22b). Consider Christ’s high priestly ministry—at that very time when you reject Him and sin, He intercedes for you, acts as your Advocate before the Father, and points to His infinitely valuable work on the cross—a cross that you are at that moment justifying—not for your condemnation, but for your pardon (1 John 2:1). You have in Christ One who is infinitely tender, sympathetic to your weaknesses, ready and able to succor you. Oh, what love is this! Will you not come to Him, resolving never to stray any more?

            Furthermore, believer who is right with God, magnify the mercy and goodness of Christ, your Redeemer, for only because of the grace He purchased for you at the cost of His life’s blood, and because of continual sustainance from Him, can you be right with God. All your strength, support, and ability to walk with God and have an upright heart before Him is only yours for Christ’s sake. “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake” (Psalm 115:1). Be on guard against the sin which can so easily beset you. Strive to grow faster than you are already growing. You are in fellowship with God—so seek Him all the more. Out of love for His appearing, purify yourself, even as He is pure (1 John 3:3), yet do not rest in your progress, but keep your eye fixed on Christ, the Author and Finisher of your faith, and fight the good fight of faith, depending on Him alone, until the day comes when, at either His coming for all His saints or the end of your own personal race, your battle will be over, and you can sing, forever freed from sin, with the redeemed, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. . . . Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 5:12; 7:12).

II. The Means of Vivification

1.) Vivification By “Exercise”

            God vivifies His people in conjunction with their exercise of spiritual graces; as the believer, enabled by the Holy Spirit, exercises faith, hope, love, and all spiritual virtues, as he flees vice, as he practices spiritual discipline and puts in practice all the inward and outward attitudes and actions that characterize the Son of Man, the second Adam, and rejects all the evils of attitude and action that characterize the fallen first Adam, he grows in holiness. The old man is progressively put to death, and the new man grows in strength by means of exercise. By practicing holiness the Christian becomes more holy; by fighting and mortifying sin he becomes less sinful. This truth is evidenced by an abundance of Biblical terminology.

1.) Vivification by “Exercise”

            First, Scripture specifically states that exercise[221]produces godliness. Paul commanded Timothy to “refuse” evil and “exercise [himself] rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).[222] Growth in godliness by means of disciplined spiritual exercise is compared to growth in physical strength by means of physical exercise (1 Timothy 4:8).[223] One develops from being a spiritual baby to one of “full age,”[224] of Christian maturity, “by reason of use[225] . . . [by] exercis[ing] . . . [the] senses . . . to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).[226] Those who are disciplined or “exercised”[227] by “chastening” see it “yiel[d] the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). The godly can have their hearts strengthened in righteousness, like the ungodly can grow in their wickedness by means of a “heart . . . exercised with covetous practices” (2 Peter 2:14).[228] “[E]very holy work, of hand, or head, or heart, is a contribution to the formation of holy habits, very much as physical exercises develop the muscles which perform them. To such an extent as this there is action and reaction, a holy heart prompting to holy acts, and these again reflecting an influence back upon the heart.”[229]

            Since holiness is increased by means of spiritual exercise, how necessary it is for the Christian to exercise himself unto godliness! Spiritual laziness will not produce growth, but weakness. Failure to engage in such exercise will certainly hinder your growth in godliness, and as neglect of exercise in the physical realm will certainly weaken you physically, neglect of spiritual exercise will certainly make you spiritually weak. Furthermore, your failure to exercise yourself unto godliness is itself indulgence in sin, and such indulgence will lead to ever-greater spiritual weakness. On the contrary, diligently pursue godliness, engage in right decisions, exercise your spiritual senses to discern good and evil, and patiently, regularly, yea, continuouly exercise and employ the means through which the Holy Spirit strengthens your inner man. View seasons of trial and tribulation as occasions in which you can, in a particular way, strengthen your spiritual life as your heavenly Father puts you under special strain so that you might come out all the stronger.   For as through physical exercise God will certainly strengthen your physical body, so through diligent spiritual exercise God will certainly strengthen your inner man spiritually and renew you ever the more into the image of Christ.

2.) Vivification By “Striving”

 

            Growth in holiness and progressive weakening of indwelling sin takes place as the believer strives against and fights sin, depending upon his sanctifying God for victory. Spiritual life increases as the believer continually[230] “striveth for the mastery” (1 Corinthians 9:25), running spiritually with the perseverence and extreme effort, diligence, and labor of one who wins a competitive athletic race (9:24) or a boxing match (9:26),[231] keeping under (9:27) his indwelling sin and striving against it so that it is weakened and, as it were, boxed and pummeled down,[232] given a black eye,[233] and brought into slavish subjection.[234] Strenuous strife, agonizing[235] to defeat sin, must not be self-dependent or independent moralism, but be “labour” that is “striving according to [God’s] working,” as God “worketh . . . in [the believer] mightily” (Colossians 1:29)—God supernaturally energizes[236] the believer’s effort to mortify sin and exercise virtue and thus remains the sole ultimate Agent for all increase in spiritual life and eradiction of sinful tendencies, but the believer must nonetheless “labou[r] fervently” (Colossians 4:12),[237] and “fight” (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). He must fight spiritual battles clothed in spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) with the sword of the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).[238] He must run like one who is determined to win his spiritual race (1 Corinthians 9:24, 26), removing every obstacle that could hinder him (Hebrews 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; cf. Galatians 2:2; 5:7; Philippians 2:16).[239] He must “resis[t][240] unto blood, striving[241] against sin” (Hebrews 12:4) and exert intense effort or “contend”[242] (Jude 3) for the truth. The Christian life is a “fight” or “conflict”[243] like a gladiatorial contest (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32[244]), a wrestling match (Ephesians 6:12),[245] or a grueling athletic race (Hebrews 12:1) or struggle in other athletic contests.[246] The believer must exert the most intense efforts to defeat his old man and utterly vanquish indwelling sin, and as he does so, God gives him victory and he grows more holy.

            By exercise in this manner the Christian is progressively vivified. Do you so exercise yourself to gain mastery over sin? Consider that God admonishes you to exercise yourself like one who is to win a race (1 Corinthians 9:24); thus, you should strive to be the most holy person possible. Mediocrity is not acceptable. You are not to strive to be like the average man of the world, who is yet on his way to eternal damnation (Matthew 7:13-14). You are not to be like the average professor of Christianity, and be satisifed with yourself, rest content and put yourself at ease, if you think you have arrived to equality with them, or with the spiritual level you see in your godly friends and acquaintances. You are not to commend yourself by comparing yourself favorably with others (2 Corinthians 10:12)—indeed, the further along you go, and the more Christlikeness you have come to, the more lowly you will be in your own eyes,[247] and the higher you will esteem others in comparison with yourself—but to set before you the standard of the perfect holiness of the Man Christ Jesus, and set your face as a flint after that goal, striving, agonizing, after it, pummeling and beating down your indwelling sin, and refraining from resting in this agonzing spiritual battle for even a moment until you reach perfect deliverance at the end of your earthly sojourn. You are also to be “temperate in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25). Such temperance will affect your spiritual discipline, as you spend focused time in prayer and reading, study, memorization, and meditation on the Scriptures. Short times of prayer and Bible study are hardly evidence of striving—while the Bible never specifies an exact amount of time to spend in spiritual exercises, as such will vary depending upon an innumerable number of circumstances, surely it is far more common for believers to spend too little time than too much. How many hours does a marathon runner spend daily in his training? How many are you spending seeking to win Christlikeness and a heavenly crown? Do you carefully listen to preaching and seek to apply it to yourself the way an Olympic athelete listens to coaching about how to defeat his competition and win the gold medal? Furthermore, are you temperate in your interaction with others in the church and in the world? A haughty spirit that is unwilling to heed rebuke and hardens itself against instruction will never win the prize. Do you run with focused, continuing, passionate diligence, or “as uncertainly,” being faithful one day and careless the next? How long would a boxer last in his match if every second round he let down his guard? Do you let down your guard and let sin knock you around, falling, perhaps, for the same wiles time and time again? Beware, for in so doing you are set to be a “castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27), a spritual loser. Will you, in shame, come in the last place in the only race with eternal value? Can you strive for vanities such as money or approval—or even for necessary things such as the care of your family, but fail to strive in the most important contest of all? You have the constant work of a lifetime ahead of you—strive after that perfect holiness that is the unchangeable and eternal standard of the Holy One and your Redeemer, so that you can say truthfully the words of Paul: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

“The just shall live by faith”—

Faith and Salvation in All Its Apects

            Faith is associated in Scripture with the receipt of salvation in all its aspects—justification, progressive sanctification, and ultimate glorification are connected to faith. The specific character of the connection between faith and salvific blessings is of tremendous value to the understanding of both the character of Christian conversion and Christian growth in grace.

            The first reference to belief in the Old Testament—which is also the first reference to reckoning, crediting, or imputation, and the first reference to the adjective righteousness,[248] is Genesis 15:6, the paradigmatic statement concerning the father of faith, Abraham: “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”[249] Genesis 15, in which the gospel was preached to Abraham (Galatians 3:8), records the patriarch’s faith[250] in that God[251] who promised the Seed of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15:2-5), the Christ.[252] Although Abraham failed to perfectly keep the law, as is evident in the rest of Genesis, he was nonetheless accounted righteous because of the work of the Messiah. Genesis 15:6 thus sets a pattern that by faith alone in God and His Messiah sinful men are counted righteous by Jehovah, whether at the moment of initial conversion as those without any inward righteousness at all, as Abram was when an ungodly idolator in Ur of the Chaldees,[253] or at the highest point of sanctification possible to the people of God on earth.[254] While Abraham’s earthly pilgrimage evidenced that true faith results in a life characterized by faithfulness and obedience, nonetheless the patriarch was judicially righteous before God only through imputed righteousness received by faith alone. The verb employed, to believe,[255] signifies to trust in, to believe in in the Hebrew form employed in Genesis 15:6,[256] and signifies to be firm, trustworthy in its foundational idea and to prove to be firm, reliable, faithful, trustworthy in a different, frequently passive verb form.[257] Faithfulness and trustworthiness arise from faith, and are impossible without it, so that faith, through the initial exercise of which justification was received, may, by continued acts of faith that are a product of a believing new nature,[258] evidence the saint’s inward faith and faithfulness in outward fidelity. Thus, the Old Testament teaches that one who believes in God,[259] another person,[260] an event,[261] or a thing,[262] reckons the thing in question, or the person, as one who will continue or endure the same,[263] as trustworthy[264] or faithful,[265] or sure,[266] or confirmed or established,[267] and therefore worthy of assured confidence.[268] Those descendents of Jacob who believe in Jehovah, those who believe and consequently become the faithful, of whom Abraham is the paradigm,[269] are those who are redeemed and counted as righteous[270] and will in the last days receive the Promised Land,[271] along with believing Gentiles (Jonah 3:5, 10) who will similarly inherit the Millennial earth and the eternal kingdom. Because of Abraham’s faith in the Christ set forth in the Abrahamic covenant, as expressed in Genesis 15:6, God formally ratified that covenant with the patriarch (Genesis 15:7-22) and promised him that his seed would inherit the land. Life in the Promised Land (Genesis 15:18-22) is specified as given, by grace and for Christ’s sake,[272] to both Abraham personally and to his seed for ever, and ultimately to Christ as head over them all, as Abraham and his corporate and Messianic seed[273] will possess the Land in the resurrection during the Millennial kingdom and eternal state.[274] This promise of life was given to Abraham because he believed in Jehovah, not because of any works that he did, setting a pattern for all those who are of Abraham—for Abraham is the father of believing Jews and Gentiles—to also receive life in the kingdom, spiritual life now and eschatological life, through faith, through which they are accouted righteous (Romans 4). Thus, believers are those who receive salvation,[275] those who are established and prosper, both in having Jehovah bless them and protect them in the Land and in general by having all things work together for good to them (2 Chronicles 20:20). They believe in Jehovah alone and reject any confidence in other gods (Isaiah 43:10). They will be secure and protected by the virgin-born yet Divine Messiah from the temporal and eternal judgments that fall on the wicked.[276] They are the faithful who are saints or holy ones (Hosea 11:12), having been converted and having in this manner become the righteous (Hosea 14:1-9). On the other hand, those who do not believe are those who are the objects of God’s wrath and judgment, those who do not inherit the Promised Land[277] but are killed by plagues or the sword, or suffer exile from it as they turn to idolatry and are the objects of the Lord’s great anger.[278] They are those who are removed from the Land in their lifetime (cf. Psalm 78) and will not inherit it in the Millennium or the eternal state, but are eternally cut off from true Israel,[279] having not set their hope[280] in God, but rejected His covenant, and been rebellious and faithless.[281] They are those who are not established in time or in eternity in the Land because they do not believe in Jehovah and Immanuel, the Posessor and Protector of the promised country,[282] the Stone and sure foundation of Israel,[283] the Servant who would justify many by the offering of Himself.[284] There are no texts where true believers are lost or cast off because of a lack of circumcision, obedience to various commandments, or anything else; in continuity with the New Testament, the Old Testament teaches that all believers receive salvation and all unbelievers receive condemnation.[285] Thus, following the pattern set in Genesis 15:6, believers are those who receive salvation in its temporal and eternal aspects, and unbelievers are those who receive temporal and eternal judgment.

            Habakkuk 2:4, the heart of the entire book of Habakkuk, referring back to the statement of Genesis 15:6,[286] and in light of other Old Testament texts that promise salvation to believers,[287] states: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”[288] The great fact that the just shall live by faith was to be engraven plainly upon tablets.[289] The ungodly, whether unbelieving Israelites[290] or idolatrous Babylonians,[291] are proud, their souls lifted up; in contrast, the people of God, those who are just, shall live by faith.[292] Habakkuk sets before Israel the example of Abraham—the patriarch was justified by faith alone, and his faith, because of its saving character, produced a life of persevering obedience (cf. Genesis 22). In such a manner, Habakkuk affirms, the people in his day needed to experience true conversion by faith and evidence the reality of that conversion in a life of faithfulness. A life of open rebellion was unacceptable, but one of mere outward rigorism or moralism would also not suffice, for without a root of faith and a renewed heart, all religious and moral actings were vain (Isaiah 1:10-15; Hebrews 11:6). The word faith[293] in the verse, a noun related to the verb believe in Genesis 15:6, means in Habakkuk 2:4 a steadfast trust which results in faithfulness,[294] combining the ideas of faith and of the faithfulness that flows from it.[295] It is used for stedfastness and steadiness,[296] God’s truthful faithfulness,[297] human faith, truthfulness, and faithfulness,[298] and what is true and faithful in itself.[299] Other words in the ‘aman word group, that of belief/faith/faithfulness,[300] mean faithfulness,[301] verily, truly, indeed,[302] trusting, faithfulness,[303] faith, support,[304] constant,[305] and firmness, faithfulness, truth.[306] Thus, as Genesis 15:6 indicates that believers are righteous, Habakkuk 2:4 indicates that those who are just are those who live by faith—and faithfulness is impossible without faith, for those who have, through the instrumentality of faith, embraced Jehovah as their own God and trusted in His promise of redemption through the Seed, will also characteristically trust in God and live their lives as the people of God out of the faith that is the fundamental or radical root of their spiritual life. Righteousness, life, and faith, in both their earthly “already” and their eschatological “not yet,” are indissoluably connected.

            Those who came to believe in Jehovah and His Messiah, and consequently lived by faith in Him, were those who “trusted[307] in the LORD God of Israel”[308] and in His Word (Psalm 119:42). Such a trust manifested itself in obedience to His Law in the trials of this life,[309] and brought both temporal[310] and eternal deliverance (Psalm 125:1). Trust also led to an acknowledgment of Jehovah in one’s practical life (Proverbs 3:5-6). All the nation was called to such a trust (Psalm 115:8-11). The Lord saves and preserves those who trust in Him (Psalm 86:2), so that true Israel can say: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation,”[311] while the ungodly trust in evil deeds or plans,[312] men,[313] false gods (Isaiah 42:17), external ritual (Jeremiah 7:4), or their own righteousness (Ezekiel 33:13) instead of in Jehovah only (Zephaniah 3:2). Those that truly know the Lord trust in Him, and He will not forsake them,[314] nor allow them to be confounded, but deliver them,[315] and surround them with mercies (Psalm 32:10), since they trust in His mercy[316] for ever and ever (Psalm 52:8), and they will dwell in the Land (Psalm 37:3, 5). The Bible contrasts those who trust in Jehovah with those who “believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation . . . a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God . . . [that] kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law . . . [that] sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.”[317] In short, trust in the Lord marked the true Israelite,[318] he who was blessed[319] with temporal and eternal salvation.

            Other Hebrew forms related to the verb trust[320] similarly indicate that temporal and eternal salvation was received by those who trust in Jehovah. Those would be “saved” who placed their “confidence” in Him.[321] Those who “hope” in the Lord rather than placing their “confidence” in any other source are blessed, without any limitation to either this life or that to come.[322] The Old Testament consequently declares: “Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust” (Psalm 40:4), for He is the only fit object of “confidence” (Psalm 65:5) or “trust” (Psalm 71:5)—all other objects of “trust” are like a “spider’s web.”[323] “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint,”[324] while those whose “trust” is “in the LORD” find in Him “strong confidence” and a “place of refuge.”[325]

            Thus, Jehovah is Himself the salvation for the “righteous,” those who take refuge or trust[326] in Him (Psalm 64:10). Believers can say: “God . . . in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour.”[327] To “all them that trust in him” He is a shield and place of safety.[328] “[A]ll those that put their trust in [Him] rejoice . . . because [He] defend[s] them” (Psalm 5:11). They are blessed, now and forever (Psalm 34:8), receiving of the great goodness He has stored up for them (Psalm 31:19). The believer, one who forsakes confidence in men to trust in Jehovah only (Psalm 118:8-9),[329] can say: “O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me,”[330] while those who trust in false gods (Deuteronomy 32:37), evil men (Judges 9:15), or pagan nations (Isaiah 30:2) are destroyed. Because of His “lovingkindness,” believers will “never be ashamed” or “desolate” or “destitute” or “put to confusion” because they “trust in” Him, being rather “deliver[ed]” in His “righteousness” and having their souls “redeemed.”[331] The “LORD . . . knoweth them that trust in him” (Nahum 1:7), so those “afflicted and poor people” who “shall trust in the name of the LORD” (Zephaniah 3:12) receive His promise: “he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain” (Isaiah 57:13). They will “abide” in His presence “for ever” (Psalm 61:4), and have a refuge and sure hope in death (Proverbs 14:32). Those who “come to trust . . . the LORD God of Israel” will receive a “full reward” (Ruth 2:12), for He will “save them, because they put their trust in him” (Psalm 37:40). Trust in Jehovah is connected with trust in His Son (Proverbs 30:4), the Messiah; all those who repent and trust in the Son of God receive temporal and eternal blessing, while those who do not will perish under Messianic wrath: “Kiss[332] the Son,[333] lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12).[334]

            In Genesis 15:6, Abraham was counted righteous. The verb employed[335] specifies that the patriarch was accounted or reckoned as righteous; the imputation of righteousness, rather than an infusion of righteousness, is in view. Many texts with the word clearly speak of imputation or accounting,[336] in many others the idea of making, transforming, or infusing is evidently impossible,[337] and no passages with the verb in question clearly speak of any kind of infusion. When Phinehas’ stand for Jehovah and against Baalpeor was reckoned to him as righteousness (Psalm 106:31),[338] the Divine act was certainly an accounting of Phinehas’ act as righteous, rather than infusing goodness into or transforming his act into a good one. Likewise, when Nehemiah made men treasurers because they were “counted faithful” (Nehemiah 13:13),[339] the accounting did not make the men faithful or infuse faithfulness into them, but was an accounting that they were indeed faithful men. Thus, Genesis 15:6 speaks of the legal[340] reckoning of Abraham as righteous. He was reckoned righteous at the judgment bar of God, rather than in the eyes of men, or in some other way, for Jehovah was the One who accounted the patriarch righteous. The opposite of a man having righteousness accounted to him, as in Genesis 15:6, is to have iniquity imputed (2 Samuel 19:19). One who has blood imputed to him is reckoned as being guilty of shedding blood (Leviticus 17:4), while the benefit of sacrificial offering in expiation is imputed when received in the proper manner, but not otherwise (Leviticus 7:18); by imputation one is reckoned as and treated as the possessor of whatever is imputed. Thus, when Abraham was reckoned as righteous in Genesis 15:6, his being accounted righteous, rather than his personal acquisition of inward holiness, is in view. Abraham, and all the righteous from the time of the first announcement of the gospel in Genesis 3:15, acknowledged their need for gratuiously imputed righteousness, and the Divine provision of such in the Messiah, through their offering of animal sacrifices, as ordained by God from the beginning (Genesis 3:20-21; 4:4); the blessed substitution that merited the imputation of an alien righteousness, historically accomplished on the cross, not salvation by personal merit, was manifestly set forth in the sacrifical types. Similarly, David records: “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity,”[341] the man to whom, although sinful in himself, righteousness instead of iniquity is Divinely imputed, whose “transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” This man is he who has received David’s call to all nations to faith in God’s “Son,” for “blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12), even as all are blessed who hope (Psalm 146:5) or trust in Jehovah.[342] Thus, “faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness” (Romans 4:9)[343] in a legal or judicial sense. Genesis 15:6 refers solely to an imputed righteousness. The outward righteousness of those imputed righteous, the outward evidential just character manifested in them, is a consequent that follows from the receipt of imputed righteousness, and faith, not as a meritorious instrument, but because it embraces God and receives all freely from Him, is the root of spiritual life in all the people of God.

            Abraham had faith accounted to him for righteousness.[344] Jehovah testifies concerning the “servants of the LORD” that “their righteousness is of me,”[345] for, rather than having as their judicial standing the filthy rags of their own righteousness (Isaiah 64:6), they can testify: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,[346] as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). With Abraham, believing Israel can testify that the Messiah, the “king” who is the “righteous Branch” from “David,” is “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,”[347] by whom they are “saved” (Jeremiah 23:5-6), for this righteousness of the Messiah who is both Jehovah and the truly human Son of David is imputed to them (Jeremiah 33:16), and they are justified, legally declared righteous, not through their own deeds, or on the ground of faith, faith being only the instrument for the receipt of Divine righteousness,[348] but rather on the ground or basis of the imputation of the righteousness of the Messiah alone. Every animal sacrificed by the people of God in the Old Testament, in its foreshadowing of the shedding of Messianic blood (Isaiah 52:15), testified to the fact that neither personal merit, including any alleged merit in the act of faith itself, could be a satisfactory ground for the acceptance of the saint; rather, “it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11), for “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). Thus, “in the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory” (Isaiah 45:25), as they look to Him and are saved (Isaiah 45:22) through the merit of Jehovah’s “righteous servant” who will “justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”[349] While it is certain that the people of God in the Old Testament were inwardly transformed because of their relationship to Jehovah (Psalm 1),[350] nonetheless the foundational reason why they were frequently denominated as “just” or “righteous”[351] was imputed righteousness, based on the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah they anticipated in expectation, as typified and exhibited in the sacrificial system.

            Those who are in this manner[352] the just—those who have been received imputed Messianic righteousness as the sole judicial and legal basis for their justification, and at the same moment also been given a principle of holiness that results in obedience in life—receive the promise in Habakkuk 2:4 that they shall not die (Habakkuk 1:12), but live.[353] The verb to live is used[354] most commonly of life in this world,[355] but it is also used of living forever,[356] of life through the future resurrection (Isaiah 26:19), and of spiritual life in the walk of the people of God in their current earthly pilgrimage (Deuteronomy 8:3). The noun for life[357] possesses a similar range of usage, referring to physical life,[358] spiritual life (Deuteronomy 30:6), resurrected life (Daniel 12:2), and eternal life (Genesis 2:9; 3:22). All these senses of life are, in any case, related,[359] as spiritual, physical, and eschatological death are related.[360] Those who will receive life in the resurrection of the just, and will inherit the Millennial kingdom and the new heavens and earth, are those who receive the spiritual blessing of eternal life (Ezekiel 37). Those only of the descendants of Jacob who will rise in the resurrection of the just, enjoy life in the Promised Land in the Millennium, and eternal life forever, are those who are true Israel, those who are united to the ultimate Prince of God, the Messiah who rose to new life on the third day.[361] Those who seek Jehovah rather than idols live[362] long in the land and receive eschatological life, rather than being cast out of the land in Divine judgment in this life and being cast out of the Lord’s presence eschatologically to experience everlasting torment. Spiritual life before God, which includes both fellowship with God on earth through the resurrection and in all future ages to eternity, was generally associated in Israel with a long and prosperous physical life and the promise of life in the Millennial kingdom.[363] True Israel, rather than being eschatologically “cut off” from the people of God under Divine judgment,[364] received life in all of its physical, spiritual, and eschatological blessings. The just partake of physical blessings in this age, spiritual life now, life in the resurrection of the righteous, and life in the Millennial and eternal states.

            The New Testament confirms the Old Testament doctrine that, as evidenced in the paradigmatic example of Abraham,[365] the “just shall live by faith.”[366] The quotations of Genesis 15:6 and Habakkuk 2:4 in the New Testament emphasize different aspects of the truth taught in the Old Testament text.[367] Before the specific New Testament texts are examined, a general overview of New Testament teaching about the just, about life, and about faith will be conducted.[368]

            The New Testament confirms that it is the just[369] or righteous man who will live by faith. The just are so for two reasons. First, arising out of the decree of the Father, they have been accounted perfectly righteous legally[370] on the sole basis of the imputed righteousness of the perfectly righteous Christ,[371] who has the very righteousness of God.[372] Second, the just have also been made inwardly righteous—although imperfectly in this life (Romans 3:10), since they will not be completely “made perfect” until their departure from this world (Hebrews 12:23)—through regeneration and progessive sanctification by the Holy Spirit. Before their regeneration, the just were entirely abominable sinners without any righteousness,[373] but after being born again they possess both inward and outward righteousness rather than inward wickedness and a hypocritical or even a sincere but merely outward righteousness.[374] The just man characteristically acts in a righteous way, a way that is in accord with the righteousness that God has placed within his heart in regeneration and strengthens in progressive sanctification (Matthew 1:19). At times the just are specified as righteous without distinguishing between their perfect judicial justifying and imperfect but still real inward righteousness,[375] for both are necessarily conjoined; all the righteous possess both imputed righteousness and imparted inward holiness,[376] for without both (1 John 3:7) men are cast into hell fire,[377] the place of those who are “disobedient”[378] and “unjust,”[379] those who practice evil (1 Peter 3:12), the “filthy,”[380] the “ungodly”[381] and the “sinner,”[382] rather than the righteous. Just men are characteristically “good,”[383] “devout,”[384] and “holy” (Mark 6:20), “walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6) as “doers of the law” (Romans 2:13), who characteristically practice righteousness (1 John 2:29), for they have been inwardly renewed in regeneration and are being transformed into Christ’s image by sanctification. These men—those perfectly righteous by justification solely on the basis of Christ’s imputed righteousness, and characteristically growing progressively more inwardly holy through sanctification by the Spirit—are the just who shall live.

            As in Genesis 15:6 the reckoning or accounting of Abraham as righteous was a reference to a legal or judicial imputation of righteousness, not to an infusion or inner impartation of holiness, so when the New Testament speaks of righteousness being counted, accounted, or imputed[385] to Abraham or to believers in general, reference is made to a legal reckoning of righteousness, not an infusion or a making inwardly just. While inner transformation in progressive sanctification is the necessary and certain result of the receipt of Divine imputed righteousness through justification, the root and fundament of the designation of the people of God as just or righteous is the legal accounting of their persons as righteous on the basis of Christ’s substitutionary atonement. Many references to the verb to account or impute[386] are very clear instances of a declarative or an accounting idea, and no reference in the New Testament with the verb speaks of a transformation or infusion of new personal qualities by means of imputation. Similarly, the verb to justify[387] always refers to a reckoning or declaration of righteousness, and never to a transformation into an inwardly righteous state. Consequently, in line with the truth affirmed in Genesis 15:6, the New Testament references to Genesis 15:6 and Habakkuk 2:4 affirm that the righteousness of the just is fundamentally forensic and legal, a righteousness received by all the people of God through the imputation or crediting of Christ’s merit.

            Habakkuk 2:4, as quoted in the New Testament,[388] promises that the just shall live by faith. The verb to live[389] is employed for the essential life of the Triune God,[390] for physical life on earth in its different aspects,[391] for the life of individuals who have been raised from the dead through a miracle worked by Christ or the Apostles in the first century,[392] for the life of those who will be raised from the dead in the future resurrection of all men and for life possessed in the resurrected eschatological state,[393] for Christ’s life after His bodily resurrection,[394] for the Messianic theanthropic life,[395] for the life of the unconverted in bondage to their sinful nature,[396] for the believer’s spiritual life on earth,[397] for the believer’s enjoyment of life with God after his death but before his resurrection,[398] and for all aspects of eternal life, including both present and eschatological spiritual and resurrected eternal life—that is, for “life” in all senses associated with salvation.[399] Similarly, the noun life[400] is employed for physical life,[401] including life in the Millennial kingdom,[402] life in both its spiritual and physical aspects,[403] and the Theanthropic life of Christ,[404] but is used the large majority of the time for eternal life in all its aspects, from present spiritual life to eschatological resurrected life.[405] As in Habakkuk 2:4 the just would live—have life in its spiritual, physical, and eschatological blessings as a gift from their God and Redeemer with whom they had been brought into saving union, so in the New Testament the just receive life in the like manner. Eternal life—both spiritual life in this present age and eschatological life, which includes the life of the resurrected and glorified physical body—are promised to the just in the New Testament.

            The New Testament indicates that Abraham received life when he believed[406] God,[407] for the just shall live by faith.[408] The verb believe is used[409] of receiving revelation[410] and of the moment of saving belief in the gospel and in the Christ who is revealed therein, through which sinners become the people of God.[411] Such saving faith always leads to continuing faith[412] in God through Christ by means of the Word, for when God gives the lost saving faith, He will continue to give them faith.[413] That is, by means of the exercise of saving faith in Christ at the moment of conversion and regeneration, the lost become those who are believers, those who are believing ones.[414] They believe at a point in time, with the result that they continue to believe.[415] Their belief is not simply intellectual assent, but a whole-hearted committal, surrender, and entrusting of their entire persons to Christ as the Son of God and their own personal Savior,[416] being assured that He will keep His promise to save all those who in this manner come to Him.[417] In contrast, the unconverted are in a state of unbelief[418] in Christ.[419] While they can make superficially positive responses to Christ,[420] they refuse to entrust themselves to Him[421] and believe the gospel[422] because they reject the testimony to Him of the Word.[423]

            The adjective faithful/believing[424] illustrates the Biblical continuity between the initial act of faith in conversion and the continued believing of the regenerate and the related identity of those who have believed in Christ and those who are faithful to Him. God[425] and Christ[426] are faithful, many individual Christians[427] and groups of Christians[428] are specified as being faithful, and all those who believe[429] are the faithful.[430] While there are certainly degrees of faithfulness, and indwelling sin is present and ever active in the regenerate, nonetheless all Christians are specified as faithful, and no text indicates that any believer is unfaithful.[431] On the contrary, only those who are lost are specified by the adjective unfaithful or unbelieving.[432] The faithful are all those who have received spiritual grace, been adopted into God’s family, and consequently become church members, rather than only a subcategory of the church or a subclass of Christian.[433] The faithful are those who enter the everlasting kingdom rather than burning in hell,[434] and those who receive the crown of life and who will be with the Lamb rather than being separated from Him forever.[435] Those who come to believe in Christ are made, by supernatural grace, into those who will continue to entrust themselves to Him. God makes them into those who are characteristically faithful, rather than being unfaithful.

            As with the verb to believe, the noun faith[436] regularly refers to the faith exercised at the moment of conversion and regeneration, bringing immediate justification and all the blessings of union with Christ.[437] As seen with the adjective faithful/believing, Scripture does not draw a sharp distinction in its usage of the noun faith between the faith exercised at the moment of regeneration and the faith continually present in all true Christians—the believer’s continuing entrusting of himself to Christ for justification, sanctification, and eternal life is simply the continuation of the state into which he entered for the first time at the moment of his conversion.[438] Thus, all God’s people continually trust in Christ alone for their salvation;[439] even those in a state of severe backsliding are preserved from the loss of faith by the intercession of their High Priest (Luke 22:31-34; cf. 1 Peter 1:5). Those who receive spiritual and eternal life at the moment of their justification by faith never have their faith or spiritual life entirely eliminated. Consequently, in all the saints their union with Christ by faith produces visible results, so that their faith is never isolated from spiritual graces and never without works.[440] Saving faith always results in justification, but not justification only, but also sanctification and its endpoint, glorification, for the exercise of saving faith always results in the “obedience of faith.”[441]

            The specific object of faith is Christ the Mediator, and through Him the Triune God,[442] to whom one comes with an assured confidence[443] in His ability and willingness to save, without any additional human requirements of works (Romans 3:27-28), in accordance with His promise, but it also encompasses the entire revelation and body of truth contained in the Word of God, which is “the faith.”[444] “The faith in Christ”[445] includes, in addition to the direct act of faith in the Person of the Redeemer, the recognition of other Scriptural truths such as “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” (Acts 24:24). “The faith” includes the gospel (Philippians 1:27), all that Paul preached (Galatians 1:23), and all the propositional and practical affirmations of Christianity (Ephesians 4:5), for it consists of all that has been revealed by Christ,[446] the entirety of the Scripture, to which each true believer and church are commanded to conform and to which they will attain perfect conformity eschatologically (Ephesians 4:13-14). Loyalty to Christ and Christianity, to “the faith,” requires both justifying faith and faithfulness.[447] Thus, those who are born again are “obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7)[448] while an unconverted man who “turn[s] away . . . from the faith” rejects Christianity and refuses to come to conversion (Acts 13:8). Those who have Christ in them—which necessarily produces inward and outward holiness—are those who are “in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). The faith[449] includes both doctrinal propositions[450] and a holy lifestyle, including edifying speech (1 Timothy 1:4), care for one’s needy family members (1 Timothy 5:8), righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, patience, and meekness (1 Timothy 6:11), and both the avoidance of a love for money (1 Timothy 6:10) and profane babblings (1 Timothy 6:20-21). The propositional and practical elements of the faith are inextricably intertwined,[451] so that a sound or healthy faith includes both propositional and practical soundness.[452] Scriptural faith and faithfulness includes walking humbly with God.[453] Fighting the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) and earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3) involves a grace-enabled battle for both the propositional and practical elements of the faith in the church and the world while holding to them oneself; the believer is to possess and contend for an unhypocritical or unfeigned faith.[454] The “faith of God’s elect” includes both “truth” and “godliness” (Titus 1:1); failure to tenaciously hold to faith and a good conscience leads to doctrinal and practical shipwreck concerning the faith.[455] Obedience to Scripture establishes Christians and churches in the faith (Acts 16:5), for those who are reconciled to God “continue in the faith grounded and settled,” and are not “moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:23).[456] Spiritual leaders and disciplers are to train others to faithful steadfastness in all the truths of the Word, acting as spiritual fathers who establish spiritual sons in the faith,[457] for sanctification includes being progressively built up upon the foundation of the faith.[458] Believers commit themselves to “the faith” at the moment of their conversion and grow in their knowledge of, practice of, and ability to practice, defend, and propagate the faith in its propositional and practical entirety in their progressive sanctification.

            The synoptic Gospels indicate that believing has an important role in the Christian life as a response to specific revelation from God and as an instrument for the receipt of specific blessings from God, particularly the receipt of answers to prayer. The disciple who disbelieves specific revealed truths or acts of God is blameworthy,[459] while disbelieving a counterfeit of the Word as proclaimed by false prophets is commanded.[460] On the other hand, answers to prayer are given to believers[461] who, recognizing the ability of God in Christ to meet their needs, petition and trust in Him to do so[462] and remain stedfast in faith,[463] as enabled by the Holy Spirit, although God in His mercy can answer the sincere prayer offered by one who groans under the burden of felt unbelief.[464] Thus, while God preserves perpetually a root of faith in all those to whom He has given it at the moment of their regeneration and conversion, faith is sometimes a grace that pertains to the believer’s particular acts of trust for specific situations.[465] A believer who wants certainty that God will answer his prayers must, enabled by grace, “have faith, and doubt not,” and then “whatsoever [h]e shall ask in prayer, believing, [h]e shall receive.”[466] Such answers to prayer are related to the genuineness, rather than the quantity, of the believer’s faith (Matthew 17:20); one either is trusting the Lord for an answer to prayer, or is lacking in faith (Luke 17:6).[467] Faith is consequently required in prayer for healing.[468] Likewise, one who lacks wisdom is commanded to “ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (James 1:5-7). Those who doubt in a particular situation, such as trusting God for safety and consequently being free from fear in a storm (Psalm 46:1-3; Isaiah 43:2), and are consequently wavering like the waves of the sea, have, in that particular situation “no faith,”[469] instead of having a steadfast faith (Colossians 2:7). For specific blessings, Christians must with assurance and confidence trust the Lord to meet specific needs, and, in prayer, ask with unwavering faith, for then God has promised to answer them.

As a grace[470] that pertains to the believer’s continual, lifelong level of entrusting himself to the Lord, some disciples have weak faith, some have strong faith, and faith can become weaker or grow stronger. When “the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase[471] our faith” (Luke 17:5), they asked for something very proper.[472] As regenerate persons, the Apostles already possessed faith, but they wished for their already extant faith to grow. They did not ask for a new type of faith, but for an increase and growth in what they already had from the time of their conversion—they want “furtherance . . . of faith,” faith progressing and passing into an ever more advanced state.[473] Faith does not experience a qualitative alteration from mistrust into trust, but in progressive sanctification it does undergo a quantitative increase and a qualitative increase in stedfastness and decrease in mutability.[474] Furthermore, faith is not an autonomous product of the human will, but a supernaturally imparted gift given by Christ. Indeed, God deals to believers different measures of faith, and they should think soberly of themselves and exercise their spiritual gifts in accordance with the measure of faith God has given them[475] through Christ by the Spirit.[476] They should not have weak faith,[477] or “little faith,”[478] but “great faith”[479] and “strong . . . faith.”[480] They are to seek, by means of exercise, to have their faith “increase,”[481] “grow exceedingly,”[482] and “abound,”[483] growing towards the goal of having “all faith” (1 Corinthians 13:2), possessing the highest possible quantity and quality of faith, just as they seek the highest degree of diligence, knowledge, and love (2 Corinthians 8:7). However, as long as indwelling sin remains in the believer, faith has “that which is lacking”[484] in it, and stands in need of being “perfect[ed]” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). Disciples should not let their faith become weak, but maintain a steadfast and strong faith.[485] They should fervently pray, night and day, and have others pray also, for the perfecting of that which is lacking in their faith,[486] and become those who are both “full of faith”[487] and yet growing ever the more full. While the New Testament emphasizes faith as either present or absent in regard to receiving spiritual blessings in specific situations, it also presents faith as a spiritual grace that, while present in all the regenerate, has degrees, and is Divinely strengthened, increases, and abounds, as believers exercise it.

            The Apostle Paul also taught that a believer’s continuing faith played a role in his sanctification, both as an instrument to enable specific ministry and as a conduit for receipt of Divine grace and transformation in general. As King David, in the Old Testament, spoke for the Lord despite trial and affliction (Psalm 116:1-9) because he believed (Psalm 116:10), so Paul and other preachers speak and preach the truth and endure persecution (2 Corinthians 4:8-12) because of their continuing faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:13) arising out of their conversion. That is, Christian ministry, specifically bold preaching of the gospel, even in the face of tremendous hostility and opposition, arises out of the continuing faith and confidence of the believer in the risen Christ, his Redeemer (2 Corinthians 4:14). Paul also taught that God fills believers with all joy and peace as they believe and by means of their faith (Romans 15:13);[488] faith is the human response through which God makes the believer holy, filling him with the holy attributes of hope, peace, and joy. The Apostle Paul taught that faith was the necessary foundation for boldness and perseverance in gospel ministry and the means through which God transforms believers into His image. Thus, as the verb believe illuminates the believer’s greater entrustment of himself to Christ in progressive sanctification, so the noun faith illuminates the role of faith in the spiritual life of the regenerate.[489] Faith prompts the believer to perform specific spiritual ministries, such as speaking for Christ (2 Corinthians 4:13), for power from the Holy Spirit arises out of the “hearing of faith.”[490] Faith prompts generous sharing of physical goods with other believers (Philemon 5-7). Saving faith will always result in good works (James 2).[491] Furthermore, faith is indeed essential for spiritual life and growth, because whatever does not proceed out of, whatever is not sourced in faith is sin (Romans 14:23).[492] A strong faith will trust in God and His promises despite human impossibilities, while a weak faith will stagger in such situations (Romans 4:19-20).[493] The degree of weakness or strength of faith leads the believer to its respective degree of proneness to wander and susceptability to fall or to stedfastness and faithfulness (Romans 14). Patience is produced by faith that is successfully tried and tested.[494] It is not surprising, then, that by “taking[495] the shield of faith” and the “breastplate of faith and love,” the Christian can “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,” “stand,”[496] and “resist . . . the devil . . . steadfast in the faith”[497]—faith is key to resisting sin and Satan. Indeed, God continually keeps, preserves, and guards His people through faith, and so brings them to ultimate salvation.[498] Those with faith are the regenerate, and all such people definitively overcame the world at the moment of their conversion, are overcoming now, and will ultimately and finally overcome the world and enter the eternal kingdom.[499] Faith in both its initial bestowal and its increase in sanctification is not an autonomous product of man, but is initially created and subsequently strengthened by the supernatural efficacy of the Holy Spirit,[500] although not the Spirit alone, but also the Father and the Son, and therefore, the entire Trinity, give believers both initial faith and ever greater measures of faith, love, and other spiritual graces (2 Peter 1:1; Ephesians 6:23). Through the efficacious working of God, the believer’s faith is established, strengthened, and confirmed, with the result that it abounds[501] and “groweth exceedingly.”[502] God produces this increase of faith through the Scripture, for faith, while ultimately resting on God, proximately rests upon His revelation of Himself in the Word. While God produces faith, believers are responsible to “add to their faith” virtue, knowledge, and other holy graces, which develop out of the root of faith; believers are to diligently and industriously pursue the means to obtain what they desire God to bestow upon them,[503] and in this manner their faith, knowledge, godliness, charity, and other holy graces will be in them all the more, increasing and abounding, with the result that they bear spiritual fruit.[504] Sanctification takes place as one is “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine,” inspired words that both produce faith and sound doctrine and which describe and delimit what such faith and doctrine are.[505] Believers are to “stand fast in the faith” (1 Corinthians 16:13), for Paul writes, “by faith ye stand” (2 Corinthians 1:24). Indeed, believers “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7),[506] so the spiritual life of the Christian is a walk of faith, specifically, faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20),[507] through whom believers are strengthened by the Spirit to employ their free, gracious, and confident access by faith to the Father.[508] Rather than Jewish ceremonial, faith that works by and is being energized by love is what matters (Galatians 5:6).[509] The believer’s faith can grow in quantity, resulting in his proper exercise of his spiritual giftedness and in holy living (Romans 12:3-21), for the more faith the believer has, the more spiritual joy and other holy graces he has, and the greater progress he makes in holiness (Philippians 1:25).[510] An increase of faith will result in an increase in good works, in the “work of faith.”[511] Indeed, while all believers already have Christ in them,[512] the Father grants that believers, as they are spiritually strengthened, have Christ dwelling[513] in their hearts by faith in an ever greater way, and as His special presence in them increases, they are rooted and grounded in love for their brethren, experientially know the love of Christ, and are filled with ever greater degrees of the fulness of God.[514]

            The peitho word group[515] supplies further light on the nature of Christian faith.[516] The verb means “to come to believe the certainty of something on the basis of being convinced—‘to be certain, to be sure, to be convinced,’” or “to believe in something or someone to the extent of placing reliance or trust in or on—‘to rely on, to trust in, to depend on, to have (complete) confidence in, confidence, trust.’”[517] Coming to saving faith, to believing, is to be persuaded[518] of the truth about Christ and the gospel, and consequently, turning from all false confidences,[519] to trust or place one’s confidence[520] in Him alone. Related words signify persuasive, convincing,[521] persuasion,[522] and confidence or trust.[523] Paul, as a pattern true for every Christian, testified: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”[524] The saving faith of the Old Testament saints, set forth as a paradigm for those in the dispensation of grace, possessed, in addition to knowledge, persuasion of the truth concerning Christ and the promises about Him as a constituent element, which resulted in an embrace of the promises and He who was offered in them.[525] Persuasion, confidence, trust, and assurance that Christ will indeed save those who come to Him are elements of saving faith.[526] Since “[t]o be convinced and to believe is finally to obey,”[527] peitho consequently passes over from confidence and trust to obedience.[528] The idea obey is clearly present in the word group.[529] The people of God are those who believingly trust and consequently obey[530]—thus, the verb disbelieve or disobey[531] is never used of them, nor are its related noun[532] or adjective.[533] Saving faith is an entrusting of oneself to Christ which results in obedience.

            The specific quotations of Genesis 15:6[534] and Habakkuk 2:4 in the New Testament, both by Paul and by James, lie in clear continuity with both the grammatical-historical meaning of the Old Testament texts in their specific contexts and the wider Old and New Testament doctrines about the status and character of the just, the nature of the life that they possess, and the role of faith. The New Testament quotations will be examined in their chronological order—James, then Galatians, then Romans, and finally Hebrews.

            James, in his quotation from Genesis 15:6 in James 2:23, emphasizes the aspect of the Old Testament doctrine of faith that indicates that continuing faith, faithfulness, and obedience are the certain products of genuine conversion and justifying faith. His usage is clear from an examination of James 2:14-26. A man who says that he has faith, but does not have works, does not have the sort of faith that Abraham possessed, but a “faith” of a different and inferior character, a kind of mental assent that does not result in inward renewal and one that will not save he who possesses only it (James 2:14).[535] James 2:14a-d does not actually affirm that the speaker is a possessor of genuine faith; rather, he is one who only vocally testifies that he is a possessor of faith (cf. 1:25). Nor does James call him a “brother”; he is simply “a man,” a certain one who says[536] he has faith—indeed, he is but a “vain man” (2:20). While he does not affirm that this “vain man” has real faith, James does state that this man does not have works—while such a person says that he has faith, what is actually clear is that he does not have works.[537] His faith does not express itself in deeds, only in words—the only way that he can show that he has faith is by a confession of orthodox doctrine, for his deeds show nothing (2:18-19).[538] The absence of works is a clear distinguishing characteristic of his life.[539] James therefore asks, “can faith—the kind of faith[540] that does not produce works—save?” (James 2:14e). James’ answer to this question is “no.”[541] Such a profession of faith is as empty and worthless as are pleasant sounding words unaccompanied by genuine material assistance to a desperately needy, hungry, and naked Christian brother who is in danger of death by starvation or exposure (2:15-17; cf. Matthew 25:36, 43). A profession of compassion without deeds has no value in meeting physical needs, and an empty profession of faith that does not produce works similarly has no power to save spiritually. This kind of faith,[542] the kind that is characteristically or continually unaccompanied by works,[543] is dead, being alone or by itself[544] (2:17, 20, 26). There is as much of a difference between this professed but empty and dead “faith” and saving faith as there is between a dead body and a living man (2:26),[545] and such a dead faith will only save men as much as it will save devils (2:19).[546]

            James sets forth Abraham (2:21-24) as the paradigmatic example of the fact that saving faith is always accompanied with works. Abraham was justified by works[547]—shown to be righteous[548] in this world—when he offered Isaac his son, as recorded in Genesis 22.[549] Works did not transfer Abraham from the realm of those under Divine wrath and headed for damnation into the realm of the redeemed who possess the Divine favor and are headed for eternal glory. Such a transformation, as James indicates by his quotation of Genesis 15:6, took place when Abraham believed and was accounted righteous through the imputation of Messianic righteousness. Works do not transform a dead faith into a living faith, but they manifest the presence of living faith. James recognizes the teaching of Genesis that faith, not obedience, is the instrumentality through which men receive that perfect and sufficient righteousness that provides a sure everlasting hope in the sight of God, while he emphasizes the fact, also clearly taught in Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament, that the believing are the faithful, so that those who are declared righteous before God on the basis of imputed righteousness are also shown righteous in this life by their works. James refers to the “works” of Abraham, rather than to the single “work” of offering up Isaac, because Abraham’s faithfulness on Mount Moriah, in putting Jehovah’s command before his own beloved Isaac (Genesis 22), was the culminating work recorded in Genesis of the patriarch’s life of faithfulness, all of which sprung out of the transformation that took place in his life decades earlier through his being brought into union with God through faith in the land of Ur[550] as attested in Genesis 15:6. Abraham’s faith was “made perfect”[551] by his works (James 2:22) because Abraham’s receipt of a Divine imputed righteousness was not left alone, but led to progressive sanctification and ultimately to glorification. Justification, sanctification, and glorification are a continuum along which all the saints, but none but they, are brought. Abraham’s faith in response to the Divine call and revelation in Genesis 12 and 15 was brought to full measure, to completeness, by works, in that inward holiness and its outward fruit of good works are products of the union with Christ established through faith. The statement of Genesis 15:6 that Abraham believed God was “fulfilled” (James 2:23) by Abraham’s faithful obedience, culminating in the events of Genesis 22, because true faith, the faith that brings he who exercises it into union with Jehovah and results in imputed righteousness, also always results in faithfulness and obedience. Such obedience is so certain an issue of saving faith that James can regard the statement of Abraham’s exercise of saving faith in Genesis 15:6 as a prediction[552] of following obedience which was fulfilled in the patriarch’s works, culminating in Genesis 22. Abraham’s offering up his son was a fulfillment of his believing in God. One who believes will come to act like Abraham did in Genesis 22 and will be the friend of God[553] instead of being the friend of the world and the adulterous enemy of God (James 4:4). Had Abraham stayed in Ur of the Chaldees instead of rejecting idolatry and entrusting himself to and following Jehovah based on the Abrahamic covenant, he would not have been justified, as Rahab would likewise not have been justified had she sided with the idolatrous enemies of Jehovah in Jericho and had she refused to protect the spies (James 2:25; Joshua 2, 6), but they both would have been unjustified not because they had a true faith that just never produced anything, but because such a lack of works would have been indicative of an absence of true faith.[554]  Since true faith always results in faithfulness,[555] the kind of faith that does not produce works is dead (James 2:20, 24, 26). James affirms, as does Paul (Romans 2:13) and the rest of the Old and New Testament, that one who possesses a dead “faith only”[556] that is without works, one who is a “hearer only” (James 1:22)[557] who does not obey the Word, is yet unregenerate.[558] Such a person must not allow himself to be deceived by his empty profession. Abraham’s life is clear—true faith results in faithfulness, and only the believing, who are the faithful, possess spiritual life now and eternal life in the eschaton. The just shall live by faith.

            In the book of Galatians, Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 and Habakkuk 2:4 to establish the fundamental soteriological doctrine of justification before God by faith alone. Genesis 15:6 is quoted in Galatians 3:6, while Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted in Galatians 3:11. Galatians 3:1-4:11 provides arguments in favor of the propositions Paul stated in Galatians 2:15-21. Galatians 3:1-18 proves that righteousness is received apart from the law. Within 3:1-18, 3:6-14 provides arguments from the Old Testament establishing the truth of justification by faith apart from the law.[559] Paul points out, first of all, that the truth that one is justified in the sight of God apart from the law (2:16) is established because Abraham was accounted righteous, receiving the imputed righteousness of the Messiah, through the sole instrumentality of faith (3:6).[560] Consequently, believers, “they which are of faith,” rather than law-keepers, “are the children of Abraham” spiritually (3:7). Those who believe as Abraham did become the recipients of the redemptive blessings associated with the patriarch. Indeed, the Old Testament had foreseen that God would justify Gentiles, non-lawkeepers, through faith, for God had promised Abraham all nations, not lawkeeping Jews only, blessing through his Seed, the Messiah.[561] Consequently, all those who are of faith receive the Abrahamic blessing (3:9). Indeed, none of the sons of Adam can receive salvation through obedience to the law, for the legal standard is continual, perfect, sinless obedience, but all have sinned and deserve God’s curse.[562] Furthermore, the explicit testimony that “the just shall live by faith”[563] elminates the possibility that life comes from the law, for the just are all those who are justified by faith (3:11).[564] The law sets a different and contrary standard—life for sinless obedience.[565] Christ took the curse of the law upon Himself on the cross so that the Gentiles could be accepted by God and receive salvation in all its aspects, inclusive of both justification and the promise of the Spirit, through faith.[566]

            Paul’s use of Genesis 15:6 and Habakkuk 2:4 in Galatians 3 emphasizes the receipt of justification through faith alone rather than the faithfulness and holiness that are the fruit of justifying faith. As the Apostle demonstrates, the Old Testament is clear—righteousness before God is the possession of all those who believe, rather than a possession of those who merit salvation by works. However, the faithfulness that is the fruit of the union with Christ entered into at the moment of justification is by no means excluded in Galatians. The promised Spirit, who sinners receive through faith alone at the moment of their justification (3:14), will produce His fruit (5:16-26; 4:6) in those who have received Him. Those justified by faith alone will be led by the Spirit (5:18) into a walk of holiness that is characterized by love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and other holy Spirit-produced acts, rather than the fleshly works that characterize those who will not enter the kingdom but suffer damnation (5:19-23). Faith will work by love (5:6). Indeed, the entire Christian life is lived by faith in the Son of God (2:20; cf. 5:5). The Christian dispensation itself is the coming of faith (3:23, 25). Justification by faith alone (2:16, 21) does not lead to a life of sin, because the believer is legally dead to the law, crucified with Christ, and alive to God (2:17-20). As is clear in Genesis and Habakkuk, Galatians affirms the twin truths that justification in the sight of God is by grace through faith alone, based on the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, and that faithfulness and holiness are the inevitable consequents springing from true faith. The just shall live by faith, as Abraham did.

            The affirmation of Habakkuk 2:4 that “the just shall live by faith,” the thesis statement of the Old Testament prophet,[567] is found in the thesis statement of the book of Romans: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).[568] Genesis 15:6 is also quoted in Romans 4:3 to prove that Abraham was justified by faith alone apart from works of the law. The significance of these two quotations in the context of the book of Romans, and their value in illuminating the character of Christian faith, will be examined in book order.

            Romans 1:16-17 reads: “I am not ashamed[569] of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”[570] Romans 1:16-17a illuminate what is involved in the affirmation of Habbakuk that “the just shall live by faith.”[571] First, Paul proves in 1:18-3:20 that all need the gracious justification of God through the gospel of Christ, because all, Jew and Gentile, are sinners devoid of righteousness. They stand in need of, by faith, becoming those who are just and shall live. Men are by nature and choice the enemies of God,[572] under His wrath, and separated from the spiritual and eternal life[573] that comes through faith.[574] Whether Jews (2:1-29) or Gentiles (1:18-32), all[575] stand condemned (3:1-20).[576] In 1:18-3:20, the righteous wrath of God is revealed (1:18), rather than His righteous manner of showing mercy in and by Christ (8:18),[577] for men are unrighteous,[578] while God is righteous.[579]

            Second, Paul proves in 3:21-5:21 that men are delivered from sin and justified apart from the law and through faith alone. Since, as Habakkuk affirms, those who have faith are those who have spiritual and eternal life, and are the just before God, clearly salvation is the possession of every believer, whether Jew or Gentile, rather than the prize only of those who perform meritorious works.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:21-28)[580]

The just or righteous are all[581] those Jews and Gentiles[582] who have been declared righteous by the gracious God[583] on the basis of the imputed righteousness of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.[584] Works cannot earn righteous standing before God—on the contrary, imputed righteousness is received solely through the instrumentality of faith.[585] The imputation of righteousness brings salvation and spiritual and eternal life.[586]

            Third, Paul proves in 6:1-8:39 that those justified by faith receive a spiritual life that encompasses not justification only, but also progressive sanctification and glorification. Entrance into the realm of righteousness and the reign of grace makes certain the possession of life in all its justifying, sanctifying, and glorifying fulness (5:21). Indeed, all of life in its future and present aspects proceeds out of or from faith,[587] so that the Christian life is a life of faith. Since salvation in all its aspects arises from faith,[588] God justifies those who are of faith,[589] crediting righteousness to them.[590] The spiritual life of the Christian earthly pilgrimage that proceeds from the reception of life at the moment of regeneration and justification is likewise lived by faith,[591] as the believer by faith eagerly awaits his future inheritance[592] with a faith that is accompanied by holiness of life,[593] since “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”[594] In this manner those justified by faith shall live on earth by faith, and, as God gives to them increasing measures of faith,[595] their earthly sojourn is a life “from faith to faith,”[596] from one measure of faith to another and greater measure, and from one degree of holiness to the next, in contrast to the ungodly, whose life is a servitude to uncleanness and “to iniquity unto iniquity.”[597]

            Nonetheless, Paul’s focus in 6:1-8:39 is not the progressive growth of Christian faith,[598] but the sure possession and character of Christian life, specifically, the life “in Christ”[599] that is the product of union with Him at the moment of justification and regeneration—the just shall live by faith.[600] Eternal life is the present possession of the believer because of the reign of grace through Jesus Christ (5:17-21), and the possession of this life, in conjunction with its corollary, the believer’s judicial death to sin, and progressive death to sin’s practice and growth in practical righteousness, arising out of union with Christ in His death and resurrection and the receipt of judicial righteousness in justification, guarantees that the believer will not continue in sin (6:1-14). The “righteousness of God” is revealed in the salvation through the gospel of Christ in both judicial justifying and inward sanctifying righteousness, for the “just” or righteous are the heirs of both by grace (1:16-17).[601] The ability to obey is restored by the regenerating and sanctifying power of God, based on the work of Christ, through the application of the Holy Spirit—this is part of what is included in the gospel being “the power of God unto salvation” (1:16).[602] Paul asks, “Is it possible for the believer to continue in sin?” “Certainly not,” the Apostle answers, because the Christian is dead to it, and therefore cannot live in it any longer (6:1-2).[603] As pictured in his post-conversion immersion, the believer is identified with Christ’s death and resurrection and will therefore walk in newness of life (6:3-6), since he is judicially free from sin (6:7). He is free from the dominion of sin and lives spiritually to God, for he is alive with Christ (6:8-10). He is to reckon himself dead to sin and alive to God, as one who has risen from spiritual death to life, because sin will not have dominion over him, since he is under the reign of grace (6:11-14; 5:21). So will the believer sin, because he is under God’s grace? No, he will not, because he has been made free from sin when he was converted—he will, therefore, characteristically yield himself more and more to righteousness and holiness instead of to ever greater depths of iniquity (6:15-22). He will not receive the wages of sin in spiritual death, but the gift of God, eternal and spiritual life through Jesus Christ—life in growing measure through the course of his Christian walk, and everlasting life to the highest extent in the coming glory (6:23). He is dead to his old sinful servitude and the spiritual death associated with it and alive to a new master, Christ, in a manner comparable to that of a woman whose old husband has died and who now has a new lord (7:1-6). The law, which should have been the means of life, brought death because of the power of sin, with the result that sin came to be recognized as exceedingly sinful (7:7-13). Indeed, the contrast of the perfect standard of the law and even the believer’s obedience is very great, but Jesus Christ gives the victory and even now the believer no longer sins with his whole being, but serves God with his mind (7:14-25). Therefore, believers do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ has made them free from the law of sin and death (8:1-2). Christ’s death has brought believers deliverance from the power of sin and death and the presence of the indwelling Spirit[604] with the result that the righteous requirements of the law are now partially fulfilled within and by the believer on earth as, by grace, he grows in holiness, and are totally and perfectly filled in the eschaton (8:3-4).[605] Christians now have life and peace because of their possession of a spiritual mind, instead of the fleshly and rebellious mind they had before their conversion, which brings spiritual death (8:5-8). They have spiritual life and the indwelling Holy Spirit (8:9-11). They are led by the Spirit of God to mortify their indwelling sin and receive eternal life (8:12-14), being freed from bondage into the glory of the adopted sons of God (8:15-17), a glory that will extend to the redemption of the whole creation—indeed, all things work together for good to them, and blessings from predestination in eternity past, to present justification, to future glorification, are certain to them (8:18-39). Judicial and practical righteousness, spiritual and eternal life, are all included in the life that believers, who are the just, receive by grace alone from their redeeming God.

            Romans 9-11 unfolds some of what is involved in the gospel being “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (1:16).[606] Israel received tremendous privileges (9:1-5, cf. 3:1-2), from the Scriptures to the covenants to the eternally blessed God over all, the Messiah. Nevertheless, only a Jewish remnant believed the gospel as Paul preached it in the dispensation of grace. This fact, however, was by no means a failure of the Word or promises of God, for under the old covenant also only a remnant was saved—despite Israel’s national election, only those who were and are of faith constituted the true seed of Abraham who received everlasting salvation (9:6-29). In fact, the Old Testament indicated that not Jews only, but all, including Gentiles, who would believe would be saved (9:24, 30-33), and that salvation by faith, which was universally and indiscriminately offered to all men, would indeed by received by many Gentiles but rejected by many of the physical seed of Israel (10:1-21). However, God had not cast Israel away, nor had His promises and Word failed, for a remnant would continue to come to faith throughout the dispensation of grace, and the entire Jewish nation will be converted in the future at the end of the Tribulation period as the Millennial kingdom is ushered in (11:1-36). Whether Jews or Gentiles, those who are of faith are the just who shall live.

            Romans 12:1-15:13 exhorts the Roman church to a myriad of practical duties that should adorn the life of those who by faith are just. In light of the “mercies of God”[607] set forth in Romans 1-11, Paul “therefore” exhorts the “brethren,” the just who live by faith, to serve God as living sacrifices (12:1ff.). Romans 15:13, which concludes the main body of Romans that began with the thesis statement of 1:16-17, indicates, as does the “from faith to faith” of 1:16-17, that God fills the saints with all joy and peace as they believe and by means of their faith;[608] faith is the human response through which God makes the believer holy, filling him with the holy attributes of hope, peace, and joy. The increase of the saint’s inward holiness consequently results in holy actions (15:14; cf. 12:1-15:13). The gospel of God, through the power[609] of the Holy Ghost, provides all the saints a judicial righteousness, practical righteousness, and a perfect ultimate righteousness, and, indeed, all spiritual blessings, as necessary concomitants of union with the Son (8:32). Paul’s preaching of the gospel was a priestly service[610] that led to formerly wicked Gentiles becoming an acceptable[611] sacrifice, “sanctified by the Holy Ghost” (15:16), obedient in word and deed because of the sanctifying efficacy of the Almighty Spirit of God (15:18-19).[612] Sanctification is an absolutely certain consequence of justification—Gentiles incorporated into the people of God become living and holy sacrifices[613] to the God whose mercy delivered them from the penalty and power of sin (12:1-2). Receipt of the gospel in faith leads both to justification and to the saints being established in holiness by the power of God, resulting in the “obedience of faith” (16:25-27).[614] Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 in the thesis statement of his epistle to the Romans in 1:16-17 is exactly in line with the meaning of the Lord through the Old Testament prophet. Since the just shall live by faith, justification is a free gift received by grace alone through faith alone. Since the just shall live by faith, progressive sanctification and growth in spiritual life, faith, faithfulness, and holiness is certain for all the justified, for all those who possess faith, while faithfulness is impossible without saving faith. Since the just shall live by faith, ultimate glorification is also certain for all the justified (cf. 8:28-39)—every one of God’s precious just ones shall receive the consummation of eternal life in a blessed eternity. All believers continue to rely on Christ alone for the entirety of their justifying righteousness, and all believers live—they have spiritual life now, characteristically trust in Jehovah and grow in faith and other fruits of the Spirit, and will receive the consummation of the life they now enjoy in a blessed life in the eschaton.

            As in Romans 1:16-17 Paul’s interpretation of Habakkuk 2:4 is in complete harmony with the literal meaning of the Old Testament passage, so the Apostle’s quotation in Romans 4:3 of Genesis 15:6 is in full agreement with the literal meaning of Moses. Paul wrote: “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”[615] As in Genesis 15:6, so in Romans 4:3 faith is the instrument through which Christ’s righteousness is imputed, rather than faith itself being the ground or basis of the receipt of righteousness.[616] Paul makes it very clear that justification is by faith alone in Christ alone, through which the sinner receives the imputed righteousness of Christ and obtains a perfect legal standing before God. Abraham was not justified by works, but solely through faith, entirely by grace exclusive of all human merit or effort (4:1-5), a teaching to which David also testifed (4:6-8). Since Abraham was justified prior to his circumcision, it is apparent that ceremonies or rituals, even those ordained by God such as circumcision, are not the instrumentality through which sinners are justified (4:9-12).[617] Salvation is by grace through faith to all, whether Jew or Gentile, and not by the law or circumcision, for Abraham’s justification apart from circumcision and the law (4:12-22) is a pattern for Christian justification (4:23-25). In the book of Romans, Paul cogently and clearly demonstrates with his quotation from Genesis 15:6 that Abraham, and all, receive justification apart from works by grace through faith alone.

            While Paul’s main point in his argument of Romans four is justification, the transformed lifestyle that is the certain consequent of and companion of gratuitous justification is not absent from the chapter. Those who have ceased working to obtain justification and simply believe on Christ (4:5) are those whose lifestyle evidences a “walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham.”[618] Those justified by faith alone will also be the faithful, following the pattern of Abraham who not only received a free justification but also separated from the idolatry of Ur and obeyed, loved, and served Jehovah. God both declared that Abraham was righteous solely by faith and stated of the patriarch, “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:5). Abraham not only entrusted himself to the Lord at a particular moment, but he also persevered in the faith (Romans 4:17-22). The continuity between justifying and persevering, sanctifying faith is clear in Romans 4-5—one and the same faith results in both salvific blessings. While the main emphasis of Romans 4 is the element of the Old Testament doctrine that “the just shall live by faith” that establishes justification by faith alone based on the righteousness of Christ alone, the corollary truth of the life of faithfulness of the justified is also apparent.

            Finally, Paul[619] also quotes Habakkuk 2:4 in the book of Hebrews. Based on the foundation of justification by faith, Paul’s quotation in Hebrews 10:38 emphasizes the perseverance that results from genuine saving faith.[620] Those who are truly just, Paul teaches, will live by faith: “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”[621] The just, those who believe to the saving[622] of their souls, all the people of God, are contrasted with those who apostatize instead of persevering, who “draw back unto perdition”[623] and are eternally damned. Paul sets forth this truth as an encouragement to the believing Hebrews to persevere in the faith despite persecution and as a warning to those who would apostatize from Christ and return to the shadows of Judaism that they will receive, not freedom from persecution only, but with it God’s eternal curse and everlasting damnation. Those who respond in faith to the gospel (Hebrews 4:2) have more than a bare faith in God (Hebrews 6:1, cf. v. 1-9), but a kind of faith that will be mixed with patience and therefore will receive an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 6:12), a kind of faith that brings with it the purified heart of the New Covenant (Hebrews 10:22; 8:8-12). The heroes of the Old Testament recalled in Hebrews 11 are the justified, those who obtained a good report and will be perfected in eternal glory with those of the first century who persevered in like manner (Hebrews 11:2, 39-40); they are the just who live by faith, those who believe to the saving of their souls, those just men made perfect who enter the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:23) and are a great cloud of witnesses to encourage the Hebrews in Paul’s day to persevere (Hebrews 12:1), even as the godly Christian preachers known to the recipients of Hebrews had a saving faith that led them to a blessed eternity with Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:7-8), in contrast with those in whom God has no pleasure (cf. Hebrews 10:38; 11:5-6), those who draw back to perdition (Hebrews 10:38-39).

            Thus, explicating Hebrews 10:38-39, Hebrews 11 supplies an extensive analysis of how genuine faith, that possessed by those that believe to the saving of the soul, appeared in the life of Old Testament believers. The “by faith”[624] refrain of chapter 11 indicates that the Old Testament worthies acted as they did both because of the presence of genuine faith in them and through the instrumentality of that faith. The chapter does not affirm that they were free from the effects of indwelling sin, or that they never experienced spiritual declensions, but it does teach that, as people of genuine faith, they possessed a graciously given predominant bent towards God that manifested itself in a life characterized by faithfulness and acts of faith. The servants of God in Hebrews 11, therefore, do not represent a second or higher class of Christian, but all those truly in the kingdom of God their recognized Creator (Hebrews 11:1-3), the just or righteous (Hebrews 10:38; 11:4) who please God (11:5-6), who are righteous by faith and receive salvation (11:7), who will, like Abraham and Sarah, enter the heavenly city (11:8-19), who look for future reward and therefore suffer affliction with the people of God instead of enjoying the temporary pleasures of sin (11:25-26, cf. 20-26), who forsake the heathen and are not destroyed with them (27-31), and who live by faith in whatever circumstances God places them in and enjoy the resurrection to life with an abundant reward (32-38), receiving the promise of eternal inheritance with the rest of those who possess true faith and consequently persevere (9:15; 11:39-40). That is, Hebrews 11 teaches both that justification is simply by faith and sets forth the pattern of the life of faith that will mark the justified.[625] Since the elders obtained a good report simply by faith (11:1-2), works do not justify; nevertheless, those who have such a good report will manifest that they are just or righteous by acts such as Abel’s worship of God even at the cost of martyrdom, and will, after their life by faith as just men, enter into eternal blessedness.[626] They will be resurrected with the just because in their lifetime they pleased God,[627] as did Enoch (11:5), by faith (11:6). Like all the righteous of chapter 11, their good report before God in justification will issue in sanctification (11:39).[628] Those who would inherit “the righteousness which is by faith” will stand for God against the opposition of the world like Noah did when he built the ark (11:7). Those with saving faith will follow the example of Abraham, who “by faith . . . obeyed” God’s call, even at the cost of separation from one’s kindred and way of life for a wandering existence as a stranger and foreigner (11:8-9), because enduring such earthly trials to inherit the New Jerusalem is worthwhile (11:10). Saving faith recognizes the validity of God’s promises, as Sarah did, even if they seem impossible (11:11-12). Saving faith not only intellectually apprehends and is persuaded of God’s promises, but embraces them, resulting in an open confession of and identification with Him, His ways, and His people (11:13), and an open declaration of a preference for His heavenly country (11:14, 16) because of an inward preference for such a holy land and for its holy King—one who truly inwardly prefers this world to God’s coming kingdom will find an occasion to turn back from the way of faith and spiritual and everlasting life (11:15). True believers are not ashamed of God, and He is not ashamed of them, but has prepared an eternal city for them.[629] They characteristically respond in faith to trials, as Abraham did when he put God’s command before his own son Isaac (11:17-19). They have respect to the promises of God and act in accordance with them, as did Isaac (11:20).[630] Saving faith has respect to the Divine promises even to the time of death and manifests itself in a true heart of worship, as seen in Jacob and Joseph (11:21-22). Saving faith fears God rather than man, and honors Him even if the government commands the contrary, as seen in Moses’ parents (11:23). Saving faith identifies with the people of God and their worship, esteems reproach for Christ greater riches than worldly treasures, forsakes the world, and endures, because it looks to the coming eternal reward, as Moses did (11:24-28). Faith exposes its possessors to what appear to be severe physical dangers if required by the command of God, as is evident in Israel’s passing through the Red Sea, whose waters could, were they not restrained by God, have drowned the whole nation as they did the Egyptian army (11:29). Faith will fight the spiritual warfare to which God has called His people in accordance with His commandment (11:30), as seen in Israel’s conquest of Jericho. Faith will lead believers to protect God’s servants even at great personal risk, so that those who possess it, as did Rahab, will not perish with those who are unbelievers (11:31).[631] Indeed, the Old Testament validates that faith is the cause and instrument for both obtaining spiritual victories and for possessing an overcoming endurance of extreme suffering, torture, and martyrdom for Christ’s sake (11:32-38). Since such Old Testament heroes received life and lived by faith, Paul concludes, so must the Hebrews endure and overcome by faith if they are to obtain the promise of eternal life (11:39-12:1)—indeed, they must look to and follow the greatest Pattern of all of overcoming endurance, Jesus Christ Himself (12:2-3). As they took up the cross to follow Christ at the moment of their conversion, so must they continue to follow Him. As Habakkuk made clear, the book of Hebrews affirms that the just not only enter into life by faith but also live by faith during their earthly pilgrimage and consequently enter into their promised eternal inheritance. The complete idea taught in Genesis 15:6 and Habakkuk 2:4 appears, although with differences of emphasis, in all the New Testament quotations of the Old Testament text in James, Galatians, Romans, and Hebrews.

            John’s Gospel teaches that believers have their faith strengthened and deepened through the believing reception of greater revelations through the Word (John 2:22)[632] of the Triune God in His ontology and economy,[633] particularly as seen in Christ the Mediator,[634] and through their response, enabled by grace, of fuller surrender to and entrusting of themselves to Him. Even the smallest degree of true confidence in, coming to, and cleaving to Christ will bring union with Him, and consequently justification, sanctification, and all the other blessings of salvation, but one can cleave to Christ more closely, grow in confidence in Him, surrender more fully to Him, and entrust oneself more fully to Him. Such a greater degree of trust in the Person of the Redeemer and in the Triune God, which is associated in Scripture with receipt of a fuller revelation of His nature and work through the Word, is growth in faith. Through such an increase of faith the saints partake of an increase of spiritual life and fellowship with God. Christ’s exercise of creative power in transforming water into the fruit of the vine in John 2 was a manifestation of His glory, in response to which His disciples, those who had already exercised saving faith, believed on Him in a deeper way (John 2:11).[635] His miracle, both an exercise of creative power such as pertained only to the eternal Jehovah and a manifestation of His grace and lovingkindness as the Provider for and Redeemer of His people, showed forth Christ’s glory as both the eternal Son of God and as the incarnate God-Man, and the faith of His disciples was directed towards Him[636] as all He was in Himself and on their behalf in a greater way as a consequence. Furthermore, through the display of the Divine glory manifested by the incarnate Christ through His raising of Lazarus from the dead, His disciples were led to believe in Him in a deeper way (John 11:15). Christ was revealed as One who, weeping over Lazarus’ death, could perfectly identify with human sorrow, and was filled to the fullest extent with perfect human love and sympathy (John 11:35-36), while He was also revealed as God the Word and the Father’s only begotten Son, as One who was Himself the Resurrection and the Life, and who, out of His infinite Divine love, could and would exercise the Almighty power of God to redeem His beloved ones from even that last enemy, death (John 11:25-27). While revelation of the glory of God in Christ leads His people to deeper faith (John 2:11; 11:15), at the same time their response of faith to His Word is a condition of and a means to a greater revelation of His glory (John 11:40).[637] Christ reveals Himself to His chosen ones, so that love that contemplates Him, faith that trusts in Him, and obedience that follows Him, is aroused the more in them. To such faith, love, and obedience, Christ in turn responds by revealing Himself in yet clearer and clearer ways. Christ also predicted His betrayal to strengthen His disciples’ faith in Him as the Messiah and as Jehovah, the I AM (John 13:19).[638] In John 14:1, Christ addressed His disciples: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”[639] His disciples had already believed, and were believing, in God, and already had come to saving faith in Christ, but the Lord exhorts them to a deeper faith in Himself as the One who is going to go away and come again to receive them to Himself, to a faith that clearly respects His humiliation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and mediatorial office (John 14:6, 29[640]), to be added to their already extant justifying faith. The Lord Jesus exhorts His disciples to a deeper faith in His Person in John 14:1, but does not there exhort His disciples to a deeper faith in the Father in particular, because the first Person of the Trinity is not the One who they would see in such a radically different light or have difficulty recognizing in light of the cross.[641] Christ then proceeds to lead His disciples to a stronger faith in the Trinitarian perichoresis[642] (cf. John 10:30, 38) and to Himself as the One in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily on account of His Word and works (John 14:10-12).[643] As a result of the discourse of John 14-16, the disciples, who had already come to saving faith in Christ with all of its permanent results, and consequently loved Him and were loved by the Father (John 16:27),[644] declared that they were now believing in a deeper way in Christ (John 16:30),[645] although the Lord warned them that their faith was still weak enough that it would not keep them from forsaking Him when He was betrayed (John 16:31-32),[646] for stronger faith leads to a more decided stand for Christ against the world and to all other fruits of righteousness. Unbelievers are exhorted to trust in the crucified Christ, and believers exhorted to a closer embrace of Christ in faith,[647] because of the revelation of His saving work, as predicted in the Old Testament, grounded in His substitutionary death, and producing justification and sanctification for those in union with Him (John 19:34-37). Men should follow the pattern of a believing response to the Divine saving self-revelation in the crucifixion and resurrection by entrusting themselves to Christ as their own Lord and God (John 20:28-31) and becoming people who are believingly faithful (John 20:27). Such a response of faith appeared in the Apostle John when, in light of the empty tomb, he “saw, and believed” (John 20:8), and in the Apostle Thomas when he saw and believed (John 20:29)[648] and was consequently no longer on the path to faithlessness, but was believing (John 20:27, 25), although in truth “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).[649] All believers are in such a state of blessedness, for they have come to saving faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ[650] and have consequently become believing and faithful people. The record of Thomas’s response of faith to the crucified and resurrected Son of God as Redeemer, Lord, and God, contained as it is within the climax of the Gospel of John in chapter twenty,[651] is set forth as a pattern for all men—those who are unconverted need to make a comparable faith response in Christ to enter into life, and those who are already converted need to continue to embrace Christ in faith ever the more fully, that they might experientially possess spiritual life in an ever higher degree, such earthly spiritual life being a sweet foretaste of the blessed fulness of life in the coming eschatological glory. John’s Gospel is written “that ye might believe[652] that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing[653] ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). The revelation of the glory and salvation of Christ and God through the signs recorded in the Gospel are written so that people might come to initial saving faith, and that those who are believers might through a continuing and ever deeper entrustment of themselves to Christ experientially possess a greater fulness of life in all its senses—that is, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)—for life is not bare existence, or simply a future state of joy instead of pain, but knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:3). It is impossible for the unbeliever to possess any saving knowledge of God and Christ, while all believers possess such cognitive and experiential knowledge, but the believer’s knowledge, and thus his experience of spiritual and eternal life, can be deepened through repeated, stronger, and fuller responses to the revelation of his God and Savior in the Word.

            The Apostle John similarly taught in his first epistle that unbelievers are to come to faith in Christ and, through the receipt of a new nature, become people of love who also are to exercise particular acts of faith in Christ (1 John 3:23),[654] while believers, those who have exercised saving faith and become believing ones,[655] should, by obtaining assurance of their salvation, believe more deeply. Their growth in faith is associated with their disbelief in false teachers (1 John 4:1)[656] because of the failure of such teachers to fit the criteria set forth by the Apostolic faith in the Word (1 John 4:1-6). Concluding his epistle, John stated: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).[657] The verse indicates that John writes his epistle to those who are believers[658] in the Son of God. He wants them to enjoy the knowledge that they currently possess eternal life.[659] By possessing assurance, and growing in their assurance of their personal salvation, they will believe the more deeply and exercise ever greater faith in the Son of God,[660] resulting in full joy (1 John 1:4) and holy living (1 John 2:1).

            In agreement with the teaching of the Old Testament,[661] John makes it clear that communion with the Father and the Son by the Spirit through the revelation of the Triune God in His ontology and economy to His beloved people will result in ever greater degrees of Christ-conformity in the ever more deeply believing believer. The saints are the possessors of a real relationship with, sharing in, association and fellowship with[662] Jehovah; they can say: “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). The saint who is right with God has Christ’s promise: “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).[663] The Lord Jesus does not leave His purchased ones alone, but promises: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18).[664] They love Christ and keep His commandments, and are those whom the Son and His Father love, and to whom they manifest themselves in a manner of which the unconverted world can know nothing, so that the Divine Persons come to dwell in and with them, that their closeness and sweet fellowship might grow the more as the Triune Presence is the more manifest. The Lord Jesus explained:

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.[665]

As their Theanthropic Mediator, Christ makes known to His people by the Holy Spirit the revelation the Father gave Him for them.[666] Through the Spirit and mediated by the Son, they have the Father’s glory revealed to them, and are transformed by this vision of God’s glory and brought into ever closer union with the Triune God through the God-Man. Such a revelation of the Father was the eternal Divine purpose on the heart of God, as appears in the covenant of redemption among the Divine Persons and the covenant of grace[667] through which the Father would save the elect by the Son through the Spirit, for this revelation of God, which takes place through the Word, is at the heart of what is involved in the possession of eternal life:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. . . . I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. . . . For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. . . . I have given them thy word . . . sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. . . . And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. [668]

The supernatural revelation and manifestation of God’s name, character, and glory through Christ by the Spirit in the Scriptures to the saints results in their sanctification, in a greater degree of God’s presence in and with them, and in their possession and manifestation of all the communicable Divine attributes, so that as they are filled with the Divine presence they are also filled with Divine love and all other holy attributes, including faith and faithfulness.

            Both the Old and New Testaments teach that the just—those who receive the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, and who consequently have lives characterized by justice—will live. They possess spiritual life and fellowship with God on earth and are certain of eternal life in Christ’s everlasting kingdom. This life came to them through the instrumentality of faith. At the moment they believingly embraced Christ, they were justified. Their Christian growth is associated with greater and stronger entrustings of themselves to the Lord Jesus in faith as He draws closer to them and they draw closer to Him. In this manner their spiritual life is carried on by faith until the completion of their earthly pilgrimage and their entry into that glorious realm of sight where faith and hope are done away and charity only remains.

Applications of the Truth that the Just Shall Live by Faith

            Do you have saving faith? If not, why, oh unbeliever, will you trust in anything or anyone other than the Triune Jehovah, who loved you and sent His Son to die for your sins? Is not hope in men in vain? Why will you perish? For you certainly will do so. There is not the slightest doubt that you will be eternally damned unless you repent of your sins and come to the Lord Jesus Christ in saving faith. Turn from any confidence in works, sacraments, self-righteousness, outward decisions such as the repetition of a “sinner’s prayer,” and all else, to trust only in the all-sufficient merit of the atoning death of the Son of God. Surrender to Christ as Lord. Roll your full persuasion and confidence upon Him and His gospel promises. He will not fail you, nor ever cast you out. He will effectually deliver you from the penalty, power, and presence of sin, and keep you eternally secure from the moment of your regeneration to all eternity future, if you will, enabled by His grace, come to Him.

            Saving faith is not just mental assent, but whole-souled entrustment of Christ as both Lord and Savior, a product of supernatural grace working in the heart. Consequently, all who have truly embraced Christ in faith will be faithful. Nobody without faithfulness has true saving faith. Saving faith always results in obedience, and faith without works is dead. If, after your professed conversion, you are still like the heathen who stayed in Jericho rather than Rahab, or still like the idolators of Ur rather than like Abraham, your eternal destiny will be the same fire and brimstone which those unconverted pagan wretches have been hopelessly enduring for the last three thousand years and more. Abraham was not a sinless man after his conversion (e. g., Genesis 12:10-13), but he was unquestionably a changed man. The new birth does not bring sinless perfection, but it always brings genuine spiritual life. The New Covenant includes both the Divine promise, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” and the equally sure Divine promise, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8:10-12). If you do not have the law written in your mind and heart, your sins have not been remitted. If you are still a proud and rebellious man (Habakkuk 2:4a), your problem is not that you have not entered into the Higher Life or into a Second Blessing, but that you have never become a just man by means of genuine faith (Habakkuk 2:4b). All the saints, not an elite minority of them only, are just, and not by imputed only, but also by imparted righteousness. The Bible never teachs that some Christians are entirely devoid of spiritual life because they have failed to make a post-conversion faith-decision to appropriate sanctification. Rather, Scripture teaches that all believers have spiritual life and the kernel from which all spiritual blessings, including not justification only, but also sanctification, progressively unfold themselves in ever-greater fulness and glory. There is no evidence in either the Old or New Testaments that some saved people do not live by faith.[669] Can the believer’s faith fail him in particular trials? Yes, certainly. Can he fall into spiritual declensions and periods in which his faith is growing weaker? Sadly, the answer is an unequivocal affirmative. However, notwithstanding all such concessions, it is nevertheless those only who are just who will live, and will do so because they exercised saving faith, entrusting themselves to Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior, at the moment of their justification and regeneration. Have you truly come to Jesus Christ?

            Furthermore, one who does not manifest the obedience of faith should neither be self-assured, nor be assured by others, that he has indeed passed from death to life. Believers have the blessed possibility and privilege of being assured of their salvation (1 John 5:13), but only those who manifest the changes evident in 1 John are truly believers. Christian personal workers should follow the pattern of Jesus Christ, who told new converts, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:30-32). Someone who has newly professed conversion should not be given assurance because he has repeated a sinner’s prayer or made an outward profession. While it is most proper to rejoice that someone has made such a decision, personal workers should explain that true conversion results in a lifestyle of obedience to Jesus Christ, and explaining what Scripture sets forth as the faithfulness that pertains to the just, they should allow the Holy Spirit to give assurance. Indeed, neither one with a merely outward profession, nor a true Christian who is backslidden and spiritually decaying, should expect to have Biblical assurance of salvation. Also, before a backslidden Christian can possess Biblical assurance, he needs to repent and have an upright heart before the Lord restored.

On the other hand, believers who do manifest the obedience of faith should not doubt their salvation. God wants His faithful people to joyfully possess an assured salvation, and a lack of assurance is a great hinderance to the further growth of Christian faith and to holy living (1 John 1:4; 2:1; 5:13c). Believer, be assured of your salvation, so that you may more deeply believe in Christ! It is not a secondary or a little thing for you to have assurance. It is the will of God. God has changed you, and His Spirit testifies inwardly to you that you are a child of God. Will you supress and deny God’s testimony and His work in you? What sort of ingratitude and unreasonableness is this? God has specifically, and in love, “written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13). Receive His promise—be assured of your salvation—and go on in your Christian walk from strength to strength.

            The exercise of saving faith is a definite, conscious, willful action that takes place at a particular moment of a person’s life. One who has, by grace, turned with all his heart and soul to Jesus Christ and been born again would in all but the most extraordinary of situations be able to clearly testify to and explain his conversion. The idea, often set forth by advocates of Reformed theology, that one can have “always believed,”[670] so that someone who has grown up under Christian influences, or who has had baptismal water applied to him in his infancy, need never consciously come to a point of conversion, is an extremely dangerous, indeed, a soul-damning heresy. Ephesians 2:1-3 states: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians was written to the Christian congregation at Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1), which, of course, included parents who had infants and children (6:1). The children of Christians, like everyone else, are dead in their sins, under the power of the devil, and fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, until they are made alive at the moment they are born again by grace through faith in Christ (2:8-9). Since infants have “no knowledge between good and evil,”[671] they do not conduct themselves “in the lusts of [their] flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” Since all those made alive in Christ at one time conducted themselves in the lusts of the flesh and of the mind, people—including those with Christian parents—are only born again after they have reached an age where they are able to so conduct themselves, and consciously repent and believe the gospel. Nobody has always been a Christian. The only people who are made alive in Christ are those who have been consciously lost, walking in sin, and have subsequently repented and believed.[672] Conversion is the most important event that can take place in the life of any individual. One does not repent by accident. A person who has experienced the stupendous change associated with conversion should be able to describe when and how it took place.

How truly “blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” How truly “blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:7-8)! Oh Christian, marvel in the blessedness of the forgiveness of your sins. They were innumerable, and each of them an infinite evil, but now they are all gone. You were black, but Christ has made you white. You were pressing down to hell under an intolerable weight of transgression, but Jesus Christ has forever removed your load. You were in bondage, but Christ has made you free. You were certain of everlasting torment, but Christ endured all that torment for you, so that you might enter into inconceivable and eternal blessedness. And not only so, but the Lord Jesus has brought you into an intimate union with Himself, and with God through Him. Say to yourself, “How can it be that I have been brought into union with Jesus Christ—that infinitely lovely and precious One? Oh, what am I, that the God of glory, the Creator of the heaven and earth, God the Father, Son, and Spirit, would reveal Himself to me—to me, who would not, of myself, take even the smallest step towards Him! And not reveal Himself only, but in Christ suffer the shame, the bitterness, and the torment of the cross, to bring my wretched soul to Himself!” Yes, Christian, because of God’s mere grace alone—not of yourself, not of your works, not of your striving, not of your preparation for grace, not of anything you ever did, have done, or will do, you have been brought into union with the Lord Jesus Christ. How you ought to treasure the fact of this union and glory in Him with whom you have been united! How you ought to esteem and love Jesus Christ, the blessed and ever-overflowing fount of all spiritual treasures, graces, and blessings that you have ever received, or ever will receive, to all eternity! Do you do so?

Glory, then, not in your own righteousness, but in Christ and His righteousness. All your righteousnesses are filthy rags, and all holiness imparted to you in sanctification is only and entirely a product of God’s grace, power, and love. Indeed, you need Christ to sanctify the iniquity clinging to your very holiest things (Exodus 28:38). You have nothing to glory in yourself. The evidential just character of the redeemed is solely a product of Divine grace and power, and your faith is not a meritorious instrument, but simply the means through which you embrace God and receive all freely from Him. Indeed, the more inward holiness God creates within you, the more you will see how wretched, vile and hateful you really are, and with the greater strength you will cleave to Christ and His righteousness only as your perfect standing before God. Yet notwithstanding all your unworthiness, the Lord Jehovah says to you: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17). Have you received His priceless righteousness “without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1)? Then hearken to the Scripture: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). Oh blessed imputed righteousness of Christ, the glory and the ground of exceedingly great rejoicing for the saints of all ages from the foundation of the world to today, the trust of all the spiritual sons of Abraham from the time of the conversion of that abominable idolator until today, when it becomes the perfect standing for such wretched sinners as you are!

You should earnestly strive to have God’s view of your own fleshly tendency towards self-righteousness—seek to see it as the abominable and detestable wickedness that God considers it. Also recognize the hateful and abominable character of all false religions of works-righteousness, whether Romanism, Quakerism, cults such as the Watchtower or Seventh Day Adventism, or all other systems of salvation by works and merit. Be astonished, be horribly afraid, be overwhelmed with indignation that any would dare to exalt his own righteousness against the righteousness of the infinite Jehovah. What rebellion, what blasphemy is this! And, alas, oh God, what is this tendency to such self-exaltation that I see within my own fleshly heart! Purge me, oh God, and I will be clean—wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Recognize that it is God’s blessed decree that you actually grow increasingly righteous over the course of your earthly pilgrimage, and the consummation of that creative work of righteousness is certain in the coming kingdom. He has covenanted to perform that work in you by His own Almighty power, the same power that created the world, raised Christ from the dead, and regenerated you. Both the initial bestowal of faith, and the increase of faith, are supernatural gifts from God, not autonomous products of your will, and the Lord has committed Himself to work in you both to will and do of His good pleasure until the day of Jesus Christ. Therefore, with confidence pursue the means of sanctification, recognizing that it is by such means that God will transform you. Passionately treasure the Word. Read it, study it, memorize it, meditate upon it, hear it preached, discuss it with others. Reject all theologies of sanctification that deny that God produces real inward holiness within His people. Indwelling sin is not merely to be counteracted, but progressively eradicated; inward holiness is not just to be maintained, but to grow. You are crucified with Christ—you are legally dead to sin, and its dominion has been shattered. Then reckon it to be so, and strengthened by the Spirit, put to death the remnants of indwelling sin. At the moment of your regeneration, you overcame the world—manifest that victory through ever greater conquests and desolations of your already defeated foe. Settle for nothing less than what God has promised. Recognize, nevertheless, that the fulness of perfect holiness will not be obtained short of your entrance into eternal rest. How this fact should make you treasure heaven! For the eternal dwelling of the redeemed is not just a place of peace, happiness, and freedom from pain, but of holiness—blessed, perfect, desirable, sweet, and glorious holiness—the dwelling of that Holy One who makes it so. There you will see your Jesus, and be like Him, seeing Him as He is. There you will be pure, even as He is pure. There you will be fully embraced by and enter into the fellowship of the eternal Trinitarian love. There you will enjoy, with all the purchased saints, fulness of communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for ever and ever and ever. Let your soul cry out, “Oh come, Lord Jesus—take me, and all thy purchased pilgrims, home to be with Thee! Or if it is not yet Thy appointed time to return, oh, how I long to be with Thee and see Thy face, not only by faith, but in full sight! When is it, oh my Father, oh my Redeemer, that I will be forever with Thee? Thou art all my hope, my joy, and the desire of my heart, now and for ever.”

Furthermore, the propositional and practical elements of the faith are inextricably intertwined—faithfulness includes fidelity to both. The devils know doctrine, and a natural man can have a kind of unspiritual pleasure through an intellectual apprehension of the theological system of Scripture—a system that he, nevertheless, refuses to practice. Mere nature can also lead others, who hate the beauty and glory of the theological system of the Bible—which to hate is to despise the mind of Christ and the Wisdom of God—to the practice of a kind of merely natural morality. The saints must avoid both errors, and passionately embrace both the totality of the propositional revelation of Himself that their Father has commanded them to love with all their minds and the totality of the practical duties that are the necessary concomitants of true submissive assent to the Scriptural revelation. Is your faith genuine—unfeigned, and unhypocritical? Do you both believe and do? Do you earnestly contend for both propositions and praxis?

            Since “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23), be sure that you can act out of faith in all that you do. Do not look for gray areas or take refuge in what is not clearly wrong, but “merely” doubtful. Take the higher ground. Practice only what is unquestionably right. Stay far away from any violation of Scripture, and consider very carefully the testimony of your conscience. You will, without any doubt, have to give an account to God one day. If you would, in the things that pertain merely to this life, take great pains that your gold, silver, and precious stones were not stolen and replaced with wood, hay, and stubble, how much the more ought you to take heed that you do not lose eternal treasures for the sake of some doubtful and fleeting temporal pleasure?

Do you believe? Then speak—open your mouth and preach the gospel! (2 Corinthians 4:8-13). Is not the Lamb who was slain worthy of a greater number casting their crowns before Him? If you believe, you will not keep silent. Those who believe in their hearts will confess Christ with their mouths. Does your testimony to your family, neighbors, and coworkers, evidence that you believe? Are you going house to house preaching repentance and faith, as the first century Christians were (Acts 20:20-21; 5:42)? Are you filling your local area with the gospel? What are you doing so that everyone in your area—and those even to the uttermost parts of the earth—hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus?

Do you speak, because of faith, against compromise, error, and false doctrine of all kinds, or do you allow leaven to spread unchecked and unwarned about? Do not deceive yourself into thinking that your silence, your refusal to follow the practice of Christ and the Apostles in specifically identifying, marking, warning about, and separating from all false teachers and false teaching is generosity, kindness, a friendly spirit, charitableness, or any other good thing. No, God’s view of your silence is very different. His view is that you are a faithless rebel and a coward. If you would follow the Apostolic example, you will speak, because you believe. You will boldly, unashamedly, and purely set forth all the truth, without adding or taking away anything. That is living by faith—and that is true love.

All Christian ministry and service must be grounded in faith. Faithlessness will eliminate the blessing of Jehovah. Furthermore, your spiritual enemies are not merely natural, but supernatural—you have the world, the flesh, and the devil to fight, and you cannot overcome them on your own. How will you slay the indwelling lusts that, before your regeneration, held you in an unbreakable grip, without the strength of the Lord through faith? Do you think you will defeat the devil and his vast hosts of demons without taking to yourself the “shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16)? How necessary it is to trust in the Lord your God in all situations—and also how sweet it is so to do! He is a sure and unfailing confidence. Do not fear, but place all your confidence in Him. He is a certain refuge, a strong rock, and a high tower. Men may, and will, fail, as will their devices, but the counsel of the Sovereign and Almighty One shall stand. Indeed, the righteous trust in the Lord—not in outward action only, in their inward disposition. Do you act like the righteous when times are easy, but abandon their Rock in times of trial? What, then, is this weakness of faith? Meditate upon the revelation of the character of God as the faithful God, as your own God in covenant with you, for He reveals Himself, and gives His people precious promises, to quicken and strengthen their trust in Him. He is a good Father, who gives abundantly to His own children out of His overflowing abundance. He will strengthen you in your weakness, strengthen your wavering faith, and fill you abundantly with His grace.

Trust, without doubting, that you have from your Father what you ask, and God will answer your prayers. His promises indicate His desire to hear and answer you: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). His character is such that He will certainly fulfill His promises. Therefore, meet the conditions for answered prayer: 1.) Ask! “Ye have not because ye ask not” (James 4:2). You will not receive if you do not ask; therefore “ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). 2.) Ask in faith. This is impossible unless you have an upright heart. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). You cannot ask in faith if you are wilfully cherishing sin. If you are right with God, then you can always ask in faith for anything that God has promised you in His Word, for you can know without a doubt that all such promises are as certain as God’s own self-testimony. Do you lack wisdom? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Are you being tempted? “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Do you long for holiness? “[H]is divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4). Furthermore, you are encouraged to pray about everything, since God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). When it is His will (2 Corinthians 12:9) to fulfill your request, your Father can give you faith for that need (James 5:15). Christian, do you come to your Father with confidence, or are you vacillating and doubting when you cry to Him? Do you even cry? Do you seek the Lord in prayer in such a manner as befits your deep duty and astonishing privilege of coming to Him?

            Faith is the instrumentality through which God fills you with spiritual joy and peace, as well as other holy attributes (Romans 15:13). Saint of God, you have tasted that the Lord is good. You know that you possess a rich spiritual banquet that the world knows nothing of, and cannot even comprehend. Would you be filled with greater measures of this blessed joy and peace? Such sweet spiritual treasures are part of the glorious inheritance of life that those who are just receive by faith. Exercise your faith, so that it will grow! Moreover, do not just grit your teeth and seek to endure trials, but value them as occasions for the strengthening of faith. The “trial of your faith” is far more precious than “gold that perisheth,” and the fact that the successful passage of such trials will bring “praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” can bring you, believing, an anticipatory “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:3-9) even before the certainly coming final consummation of joy.

            Since life in all its blessed fulness comes to those who entrust themselves to the Lord, and greater measures of life are found in those who more closely trust their God, how essential it is that you entrust yourself to Him! The worldly pleasures that the wicked prefer to God, that keep them from trusting in Him, will not last. These rebellious ones are living on borrowed time; life, even in its physical sense, is not promised to them. The physical, as well as the incomparably glorious spiritual delights, that will be partaken of forever in the New Jerusalem are inconceivably superior to anything possessed in this present time, but they will be shut out from them all. They chose to go from iniquity to iniquity, and wrath will fall upon them to the uttermost. In contrast, in the regenerate, spiritual life increases as they go from faith to faith. Therefore, by God’s grace, grow in faith, for then you will receive greater measures of life from God. What a blessing that, instead of going, as by nature you would certainly have done, from iniquity to iniquity, you can go from faith to faith, receiving from the fulness of Christ grace for grace! What is there in this dying world that could be better than this? Eternal glory is but the consummation of that spiritual and eternal life you can possess, in growing measure, now. Do you treasure spiritual life as you ought? Are you increasing in your possession of this blessed life?

Do you wish for your faith to grow? John’s Gospel teaches that your faith is strengthened and deepened through the exercise of believing receipt of greater revelations through the Word of the Triune God in His ontology and economy and through your response, enabled by grace, of fuller surrender to and entrusting of yourself to Him. Therefore, while unbelievers refuse, to their eternal ruin, to see the Lord Jesus in the Word and entrust themselves to Him at all, you must seek to see more and more of Christ and the entire Triune Godhead in the Word, and entrust yourself to Him in an ever greater way as the revelation of Him in the Scripture is illuminated to your soul, through the supernatural grace decreed by the Father for your good by Christ the Mediator through the applicatory work of God the Holy Spirit. See ever the more of the glory of the Lord Jesus’ Divine Person. Wonder ever the more at the condescending love manifested in His incarnation. Meditate upon all the aspects of His glorious saving work. Think in amazement about His exercise of all the Divine attributes towards you for your good. Rejoice with exceeding joy at His exercise of all the attributes of His glorified human nature towards you for your good. Fill yourself up with these things. You will be worshipping and praising your Triune God through your precious Lord Jesus for them for all eternity.

            Specifically:

1.) Passionately desire that God the Spirit will illumine to you the revelation of the Triune Jehovah, and of Christ the Blessed Mediator, in the Word. How necessary it is that God reveals Himself to you! Left to yourself, you are utterly unable to discover Him. You will not know whether to turn to the right hand or the left. Furthermore, your heart contains such corruption and wickedness within it that God would be perfectly just to immediately thrust you into the depths of hell, separated from His blessed face for all eternity. Is the infinite King of glory obliged to show Himself to such a worm? God forbid! Recognize that both the initial bestowal of faith upon you, and the increase of faith in its exercise in you, are supernatural gifts from God, not autonomous products of your fallen will, and look to the Lord to perform in you what you cannot perform yourself. Without the free, gracious, and sovereign work of the Spirit in revealing Christ to you, you will never find Him. How necessary it is, then, that God takes the initative and reveals Himself to your soul!

You certainly should have no such expectation of a gracious revelation, and you will not be looking to the Lord and seeking for God to reveal Himself to you in Christ, if you are not upright in heart—if you are wilfully choosing sin over Christ, you evidence that you do not desire a part in any of this glory, as you prefer your sinful abominations to that knowledge of and communion with God that is the greatest treasure of eternity.

2.) Diligently apply yourself to the reading, study, memorization of, and meditation on the Word, praying for the illumination of the Spirit, depending on His sovereign grace alone, hungering and thirsting after knowledge of God in Christ. The Bible is the very Word of God, the infallible, inerrant, revelatory speech of the Most High to man. It is a more sure Word than even the audible testimony of the Father to Christ as heard on the Mount of Transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-21). It is the perfect, unbreakably authoritative revelation of the Father to you through Christ by the Spirit. Oh, the sureness, the power, the infinite value of the Scriptures! Here is a sure anchor for your faith. Here is pure knowledge of God. Here is a genuine revelation, each jot and tittle of which is more sure and more lasting than the heavens and the earth. Here is the spring from whence the waters of life flow. Here is the love-letter of the Most High to His blood-bought people. The Bible is the instrument that the Spirit uses to show God in Christ to those who cry out for knowledge of Him. Do you treat the Bible as the invaluable treasure that it is? Does your use of time reflect such a view of God’s Word? What is your attitude when you read and study it? “[T]o this man will I look . . . saith the LORD . . . even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 66:2). Furthermore, read, study, memorize, and meditate upon the Word with the expectation that God will work. He has promised that if you draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to you. He both supernaturally produces initial saving faith and supernaturally strengthens faith through the instrumentality of the Word (Romans 10:17). If you hunger and thirst after Him, He will certainly satisfy your longings for Him and will sup with you, and you with Him—for He Himself, in His gracious love, has placed those desires within you. He will shine in your heart the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Seek, then, oh Christian—seek your God in His Word!

3.) Indeed, the believer should seek for the highest intellectual knowledge of Christ’s Person, of his Triune God, and of the specific character of all their works. Careful, detailed, and taxing theological work and careful study contributes to, rather than detracts from, affective appreciation of God in Christ. Carelessness or disinterest in careful thought about God is not piety, but ungodliness. Do you love the truth represented by the Nicene homoousios? Do you love the truth represented by the Chalcedonian definition of Christ’s Person and natures? Throughout John’s Gospel, learning and understanding more about Christ led to greater faith in Him. Do you long to learn and understand more about the Lord Jesus Christ? While the intellectual apprehension of facts is not enough—commital to Him, based on those facts, must follow (John 2:23-3:3)—unknowing determinations of the will without knowledge are also insufficient (John 9:1-34 vs. 35-41).[673] The embrace of faith requires a properly known and apprehended object. Do you seek God with your mind, as well as your will and affections?

            Furthermore, since the Biblical Christ is a real Person—the Creator and Redeemer of the world, and the only begotten Son of God—believing fellowship with Jesus Christ is both a product of and a means to a greater knowledge of Him, and leads to a holy abhorrance of every counterfeit “Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4) set forth by the world, the flesh, and the devil. Love for the living Christ and views of His glory will lead to a love of holy and spiritual worship and a rejection of the fleshly worship of fleshly “Jesus”; a love for the Redeemer who boldly and plainly rebuked the false doctrines of the Pharisees and Saduccees will lead the Christian to reject the ecumenical “Jesus” that unites false doctrine with the true; knowledge of the true Christ will lead one to reject the fanaticism of the charismatic “Jesus,” the annihilationist “Jesus” of sundry cults, the Arian or Sabellian “Jesus” of others, the wafer “Jesus” of Romanism, and all other false Christs.

4.) Behold in the Word the glory of God in Christ.

            a.) Behold the glory of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God. He has existed from eternity with His Father, rejoicing always before Him, participating in the ineffable communion of love and delight of the three Persons in the undivided Trinity. Before the beginning, now, and to all eternity, He possesses in full the undivided Divine essence. He is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, eternally begotten of the Father. His throne, as God, is for ever and ever, and the scepter of His kingdom is a righteous sceptre. He is the I AM, who was, and is, and is to come, the Almighty. He is self-existent, immeasurable, and eternal. He is the Creator and Sovereign of the Universe—all things were made by Him, all things consist by Him, and all things are of Him, through Him, and unto Him. He fully possesses the infinite Divine glory, and will receive, with His Father and the Holy Spirit, the worship and adoration of the entire redeemed creation, for ever and ever.

            b.) Behold the glory of Jesus Christ in His Mediatorial office. Behold, in the eternal counsel of peace, the Father giving the elect to the Son, the Son agreeing to redeem them, and the Spirit determining to regenerate them. Behold, and wonder at the mystery of godliness: God manifest in the flesh. See the condescension of the Father’s express Image tabernacling among men, He who was always consubstantial with the Father as to His Godhead becoming consubstantial with humanity as to His manhood, uniting in His one Person the Divine nature and a true human nature. Behold the eternal Word conceived in the womb of Mary, being born in a manger. See the fulness of the Godhead embodied in a true Child who grew in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man. Behold Him in His human identification with the sinful and desperately needy race He came to redeem. See Him growing weary with a journey, and sitting on Jacob’s well to rest. See Him weeping at the grave of Lazarus—and raising his beloved friend from the dead. See His tender friendship with the Apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. See Him sorrowful and very heavy in light of His coming cross, agonizing in prayer to the Father, betrayed by a familiar friend and deserted and denied by the rest. See Him unjustly condemned, mocked, spat upon, whipped, and crucified. See Him saving the soul and bringing to Paradise the repentant thief crucified next to Him. See Him bearing the sins of the world in His body, perfectly satisfying the demands of Divine justice through His one offering. See Him rising from the dead and so destroying the power of death, and ascending to the right hand of His Father, being crowned with glory and honor, and having all power in heaven and earth given into His hand. See Him interceding for His people as their Priest and Advocate, and by His omnipotent power preserving every one of them to everlasting glory. See Him, with the Father, sending the Holy Spirit, reflecting the Spirit’s eternal procession from the Father and the Son in His temporal mission to indwell the church. See the union His elect have with Him in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. See Him completing the work of His humiliation, and uniting to His immutable Divine perfections the human perfections that make Him the perfect and all-sufficient Savior of all who will come to Him. See Him ruling over the church in the world, preparing mansions for His beloved people, and coming again to bring them to Himself. See Him sitting on the throne of David and manifesting the righteous rule of God over the earth in the Millennial kingdom. See Him as the Light of the New Jerusalem, and His people singing the praises of redeeming love and serving Him before the throne of God and the Lamb for ever and ever. See Christ’s glory in John’s Gospel as the bread of life, the light of the world, the door to eternal life, the good shepherd who gives His life for the sheep, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth, and the life, and the true vine, the source of all grace, the font of spiritual and eternal life for all those brought into union with Him. See the glory of the Lord Jesus in all Scripture, in type and in antitype, in promise and in fulfillment, and embrace Him, cleave to Him ever the more in all that He is and in all that He does. The glory of God in Christ is an inexhaustible theme, the delight and glory of the saints to all eternity. A few lines of application certainly cannot even begin to compass it in its beauty and glory.[674] Oh Christian, set in motion the work of eternity now—through the Scripture, behold the glory of God in Christ! In so doing, He will reveal Himself to you, you will partake in ever greater levels of spiritual life, and you will be transformed into the moral likeness of your incarnate Head.

5.) Consider also that the more true intellectual and experiential knowledge of God in Christ the Christian has, the more he longs for more such knowledge, and the more he hates his fleshly feebleness in seeking after it. Does your heart and flesh, all the faculties of your whole renewed person, cry out for God, the living God, as your own God? What an awful evil is this faintness, this feebleness, in seeking after God your Father, His Son, and His Spirit? How does believing meditation on Gethsemane, and on the cross, affect the heart! For seeing the Lord Jesus in His glory enflames the believer’s soul with love for Him, with true sanctification as a result. And yet the disciples failed to watch and pray, but slept while the Lord wept His infinitely precious tears of blood, and forsook the Lord when He went to the cross. How often do I follow their faithless and criminal example, and fail to draw nigh to the Lord when He has come nigh to me? My God, oh for grace to love and know Thee more!

6.) Consider the great privilege believers, and in particular ministers, have, in proclaiming the mystery of God in Christ. Oh Christian, you have the privilege and the duty to give the gospel to the unconverted, and to set forth the Lord Jesus before believers in all His glory and grace to stir up their holy affections for Him. How much time do you spend proclaiming the gospel? How many doors have you knocked on this week? Is not Jesus Christ worthy of being known by all men? Furthermore, Hebrews 10:24-25 commands you to provoke others in the church to love and to good works. How better to do this than to set God in Christ before them? Do you talk of your Father, and of His Son your Redeemer, on the Lord’s Day? “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not” (Malachi 3:16-18).

Furthermore, pastor, evangelist, and Christian preacher, you have the privilege and duty of setting forth the most stupendous of all truths in the proclamation of the Triune God and the incarnate, crucified, and risen Christ. Am I to proclaim the “mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh”? Who is sufficient for these things? Employ the great privileges that God has given you and set forth the truth, and all the truth, with nothing added or taken away, with holy boldness and passion, and with holy fear and trembling over the fact that the Lord has chosen and commanded you so to do. Earnestly contend for the faith, that nothing whatever of the glory of God revealed in Christ through the Scriptures, and committed to you for bold and public proclamation everywhere to all men, be lost.

7.) Do not turn aside from the full proclamation of God in Christ, as set forth from Genesis to Revelation, to any other and lesser message. Do not turn from Christ to a merely “practical” message or mere moralism. Doubtless the people of God must, and will, adorn their knowledge of God with good works. Indeed, the greater their true spiritual fellowship with Christ, the greater will be their outward manifestations of practical holiness. However, to take knowledge of the Lord Jesus away to focus exclusively upon what is “practical” is to rip out the soul from true religion and leave a lifeless corpse. Any “piety” that does not lead men to behold, believe on, receive, and know Jesus Christ is false, fleshly, and devilish.

            What is more, as you strive against specific sins, do not let the Lord Jesus be removed from your view. It is certainly proper to set yourself mightily against particular lusts and products of the old man and to strive to utterly put to death specific manifestations of indwelling sin (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5). But do not remove the glory of God in Christ from its central place in your heart and mind. Sweet fellowship with Him causes the vain allurements of sin to quickly fade. Yes, your specific sins are awful, and a terrible problem—fight them with all your might. But make sure that in your warfare you have the Captain of the hosts of the Lord with you—without Him you can do nothing. Closer communion with Christ will end many a seemingly intractable battle with besetting sins.

            Also, you should expect God’s blessing to the conversion of sinners and the spiritual strengthening of saints when Christ is preached and plainly set forth. Proper preaching of the Lord Jesus will have supernatural efficacy to produce spiritual results, while the employment of humanly devised marketing or salesmanship techniques will only detract from a real focus on the revealed glory of God in the incarnate Redeemer. What is the chaff to the wheat?

            Indeed, in the instituted services of the church, the worship of the Triune God through Christ must not be removed from its proper central place. Since God’s own instituted worship is the best means of His own revelation, the Regulative Principle of worship must be consistently practiced. What is more, in whatever music is employed, not only must all fleshly sounds be rejected, but even proper melody and harmony must not be allowed to overshadow the spiritual worship of God. He must always remain the focus—let not the elements of worship, and especially the circumstances, attract attention to themselves and become ends in themselves.

E. The Body of Sin Is Indeed Destroyed, Not Merely Counteracted

 

            BDAG[675] provides the following definition for the verb katargeo (katarge÷w), translated destroy in Romans 6:6:

katarge÷wfut. katargh/sw; 1 aor. kath/rghsa; pf. kath/rghka. Pass.: 1 fut. katarghqh/somai; 1 aor. kathrgh/qhn; pf. kath/rghmai (s. aÓrge÷w; since Eur., Phoen. 753; Polyb.; POxy 38, 7 [49/50 AD]; PFlor 176, 7; 218, 13; PStras 32, 7; 2 Esdr; TestSol [also PVindobBosw for 18:38]; AscIs 3:31; Just.).

        1. to cause someth. to be unproductive, use up, exhaust, waste of a tree k. th\n ghvn Lk 13:7 (cp. aÓrgei√ oujde«n aÓlla» karpoforei√ OdeSol 11:23).

        2. to cause someth. to lose its power or effectiveness, invalidate, make powerless fig. extension of 1 (so, above all, in Paul and the writings dependent on him; cp. Herm. Wr. 13, 7 kata¿rghson t. sw¿matoß ta»ß ai˙sqh/seiß; of the soul of Jesus: k. ta» e˙pi« kola¿sesin pa¿qh Iren. 1, 25, 1 [Harv. I 205, 4]) make ineffective, nullify th\n pi÷stin touv qeouv God’s fidelity Ro 3:3. e˙paggeli÷an Gal 3:17; cp. Ro 4:14; ta» o¡nta k. nullify the things that (actually) exist 1 Cor 1:28. to\n no/mon make the law invalid Eph 2:15; cp. Ro 3:31 (RThompson, ETh 63, ’87, 136–48, on alleged rabbinic background; s. also iºsthmi A4). Also in B of the OT cultic ordinances, which have lost their validity for Christians 5:6; 9:4; 16:2.

        3. to cause someth. to come to an end or to be no longer in existence, abolish, wipe out, set aside ti« someth. ta» touv nhpi÷ou set aside childish ways 1 Cor 13:11. Of God or Christ: God will do away with both stomach and food 6:13; bring to an end pa◊san aÓrch/n, e˙xousi÷an, du/namin 15:24. to\n a‡nomon 2 Th 2:8. to\n kairo\n touv aÓno/mou put an end to the time of the lawless one (i.e., the devil) B 15:5. to\n qa¿naton break the power of death 2 Ti 1:10; B 5:6; pass. 1 Cor 15:26 (MDahl, The Resurrection of the Body [1 Cor 15], ’62, 117–19). to\n to\ kra¿toß e¶conta touv qana¿tou destroy the one who has power over death Hb 2:14. iºna katarghqhvØ to\ sw◊ma t. aJmarti÷aß in order that the sinful body may be done away with Ro 6:6. In 2 Cor 3:14 the subject may be hJ palaia» diaqh/kh or, more probably (despite some grammatical considerations), ka¿lumma; in the latter case the mng. is remove.—Pass. cease, pass away profhtei÷a, gnw◊siß 1 Cor 13:8. to\ e˙k me÷rouß what is imperfect vs. 10. a‡ra kath/rghtai to\ ska¿ndalon touv staurouv the cross has ceased to be an obstacle Gal 5:11. pa◊ß po/lemoß katargei√tai every war is brought to an end IEph 13:2. katargou/menoß doomed to perish of the a‡rconteß touv ai˙w◊noß tou/tou 1 Cor 2:6. Of the radiance on Moses’ face 2 Cor 3:7. Subst. to\ katargou/menon what is transitory vss. 11, 13.

        4. to cause the release of someone from an obligation (one has nothing more to do with it), be discharged, be released. In our lit. pass. katargouvmai aÓpo/ tinoß of a woman upon the death of her husband kath/rghtai aÓpo\ touv no/mou touv aÓndro/ß Ro 7:2. Of Christians k. aÓpo\ touv no/mou be released fr. the law vs. 6. Of those who aspire to righteousness through the law k. aÓpo\ Cristouv be estranged from Christ Gal 5:4.—Frisk s.v. 2 aÓrgo/ß; also DELG s.v. e¶rgon. M-M. EDNT. TW.

The lexicon places Romans 6:6 in category 3, “to cause something to come to an end or to be no longer in existence, abolish, wipe out, set aside,” specifically translating the portion of Romans 6:6 in question[676] as “in order that the sinful body may be done away with.” This is also the category of katargeo in the verse with the syntax that is closest to Romans 6:6 in the NT, namely, Hebrews 2:14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”[677] In both Romans 6:6 and Hebrews 2:14, the verb katargeois an aorist subjunctive[678] within a subordinate hina clause that gives the Divine purpose (which brings a certain result) of the main clause. The certain result of cocrucifixion with Christ is the destruction of the body of sin, Romans 6:6; the certain result of the incarnation and death of Christ is the destruction of the devil, Hebrews 2:14. The similar syntax of katargeoin the aorist subjunctive within a hina clause in 1 Corinthians 1:28[679] also means much more than simply “counteract,” as does the final instance of the word in the aorist subjunctive in 1 Corinthians 15:24.[680]

            Indeed, all four of the definitions for katargeo (katarge÷w) given by BDAG, each of which is certainly countenanced in the New Testament, mean more than simply “counteract.” None of them can reduce Romans 6:6 to simply “that the body of sin might be counteracted.” Definition #1, which is only used in the New Testament for a tree that makes ground unproductive, is not especially relevant to Romans 6:6. If one wanted to affirm that Romans 6:6 is an instance of definition #2 of katargeo, a restriction of the verse to “counteraction” does not fit; the body of sin “lose[s] its power or effectiveness, [is] invalidate[d] [and made] powerless” by its destruction from cocrucifixion. Advocates of the view that the strength and power of the flesh within believers is entirely unchanged through the course of one’s life, and is thus equally powerful and living years and decades after regeneration as it is a minute after conversion, do not believe that there is any loss of power or effectiveness in the flesh at any point in one’s Christian life. The “counteraction” view does not fit BDAG definition #2; something that is invalidated and made powerless has much more done to it than a simple counteraction, and a translation of katargeo as “invalidated” in the verse comes out to mean something very similar to “destroyed.” The “religious sense [of katargeo], which is almost exclusive to Paul . . . means . . . ‘to make completely inoperative’ or ‘to put out of use.’”[681] Such a meaning signifies far more than counteraction. If the flesh grows powerless and ineffective over the believer (not that the flesh itself gets better, Romans 7:18, but that it has less power) as it is gradually mortified and weakened until, at the moment of Christ’s return or the believer’s death, it is entirely destroyed, the significance of katargeoin Romans 6:6 comes out to mean just about the same thing whether one assigns it to definition #2 of BDAG or keeps the verse in #3, where the authors of the lexicon place it. Finally, if one affirmed Romans 6:6 is an instance of definition #4 (although that definition fits the verse poorly), it would not assist the advocates of simple counteraction. Advocates of “counteraction” in Romans 6:6[682] believe that the Christian can instantly return to life under the power of the flesh and of sin when he ceases to maintain the moment-by-moment faith decision that counteracts the flesh and keeps him in the realm of freedom from acts of sin, and then instantly return again to life under the power of Christ when he restores a moment-by-moment faith decision to counteract the flesh. (It should be noted that there are significant elements of truth here, in that one receives supplies of grace to mortify sin by faith in Christ, by looking to Him for that grace and strength, and that there is indeed a very clear Biblical distinction between one who is deliberately clinging to known sin and one who is seeking for and looking to Christ for deliverance from all sin, who has an evangelical sincerity—cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.[683] However, there is more to sanctification than this alone—one who is in a state of being right with God, who is evangelically sincere, also experiences progressive deliverance from the power of sin and progressive renewal into the image of Christ.) Definition #4 is employed for a woman who is separated from her husband on account of his death, and compared to the freedom of the Christian from the law (Romans 7:2, 6). A woman whose husband has died can never go back to her dead husband and resume the marital relationship. A believer is eternally secure and can never again be condemned by the law. The relation between a Christian and condemnation, and a widow and her dead husband, is not simply a “counteraction” of their connection so that the believer can again be lost or the widow can be remarried to her dead spouse. This idea simply does not fit the use of the word. There is no flip-flopping in Romans 6:6 from one category of believer who experiences katargeo of the flesh and another category of believer that does not experience katargeo for his flesh. (This is not to say, however, that a believer cannot have times when he is holding on to some sin and thus is losing ground spiritually and hindering the work of the Spirit to renew him into the image of Christ, and so is giving the flesh room for greater power as it lusts against the Spirit for dominance, Galatians 5:17. He can face setbacks where he allows sin to reign in more of his mortal body than it was when he was consciously surrendered to God in all areas, Romans 6:12.) Nor does Romans 6:6 give the least hint that the destruction of the sinful body or the freedom from service to sin is a sort of higher Christian life only attained by certain believers at certain times. The verse states a truth about all the saints, about all who died with Christ on the cross and become experientially cocrucified with Him in regeneration. Romans 6 is an explanation of why believers will not live in sin, rather than being only an explanation of how believers may not live in sin (although it does explain this as well, especially in connection with chapters 7-8). Thus, none of the definitions for katargeo in BDAG can be reduced to a mere counteraction of the flesh.

            It is not surprising that, since none of the four definitions of katargeo listed in BDAG fit the idea that there is a mere counteraction of an unchanged, unweakened fleshly principle in Romans 6:6, an examination of all the verses in the N. T. with the verb provides not a single clear instance where such a “counteraction” idea, rather than one of the categories of use listed in BDAG, is required by the inspired text.[684] On the other hand, large numbers of verses clearly testify to a sense of “destroy” for the verb.[685] Similarly to BDAG, the Louw-Nida Greek lexicon[686] does not include “counteract” among its definitions for katargeo, while “to cause to cease to exist . . . to cause to come to an end, to cause to become nothing, to put an end to” is listed. Thayer’s lexicon[687] is similar, prominently including the “destroy” idea but not listing “counteract” as a definition. The Liddell-Scott lexicon,[688] representing the classical Greek background, classifies Romans 6:6 as “to be abolished, cease” and does not list “counteract” as a definition of the verb.[689] In “the LXX . . . [the verb] occurs only . . . with the meaning ‘to destroy,’”[690] and in the earliest documents of Christiandom after the completion of the New Testament, the apostolic patristics, the verb likewise only signifies “to destroy.”[691]

F. Gradual Deliverance From The Power Of Sin Is Consistent With the Aorist Subjunctive Of “To Destroy” (katargeo) In Romans 6:6

            If progressive destruction of the flesh as a result of crucifixion with Christ is indicated in Romans 6:6, one might ask why the verb to destroy is an aorist, not a present subjunctive. A number of considerations suggest themselves. First, the ultimate destruction of the sinful flesh in connection with the believer’s entry into heaven is appropriately expressed by the aorist subjunctive. Glorification is truly a point action, the work of a moment. Had a present subjunctive of katargeo been employed in Romans 6:6, it could convey the idea that the body of sin is continually being destroyed and that there is no point in the future when it is actually utterly abolished. A present subjunctive would at least allow for, if not actually affirm, the continuance of the existence of the sinful flesh in believers in heaven. Cocrucifixion with Christ does not bring only a limited deliverance from sin, but absolute and total conquest over it and its utter destruction in every believer. The aorist, not the present subjunctive is the tense to use to express this idea.

            One also notes that Romans 6:6 states “that henceforth we should not serve [douleuein, douleu/ein] sin” employs a present, not an aorist, infinitive. Durative or progressive action is the consistent use of the present infinitive of douleuo (douleu/w) in the New Testament (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; Romans 6:6; 7:6; Galatians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). From the moment of regeneration on through eternity future, the believer is permanently and continually freed from bondage to and the service of sin. While there is undoubtedly a very dramatic change in the fullness of the saint’s service of God at glorification, his freedom from the slavery to and service of sin is a continual action that begins at the moment of his conversion and continues from that time onward without interruption. While this freedom from the service to sin is appropriately expressed with a Greek present tense, a continuing action of the same nature is not an appropriate way to express the destruction of the sinful flesh in the saint. That fruit of cocrucifixion is completed in a particular instant. There are no remnants of sin left in the believer to destroy from the time he enters glory to all eternity to come. A present subjunctive of katargeo would not fit the sense of Romans 6:6 as well as an aorist.

            The aorist of katargeo does not eliminate the fact of the progressive weakening of the cocrucified body of sin during the believer’s lifetime. The common category of the constative aorist “treats the act [of the verb in question] as a single whole entirely irrespective of the parts or time involved. If the act is a point in itself, well and good. But the aorist can be used also of an act which is not a point.”[692] While a constative aorist does not eliminate the possibility of progressive destruction of the body of sin in this life culminated at glorification, an even better view takes the aorist of katargeo in Romans 6:6 as effective,[693] so that the aorist emphasizes the completion of the action of destruction without eliminating the possibility of a progressive beginning.[694]

The emphasis the aorist subjunctive places upon the final completion of the destruction of the sinful flesh at glorification in the hina clause of Romans 6:6 does not eliminate the progressive mortification and weakening of the body of sin because of cocrucifixion any more than the aorist subjunctive verb “sanctify” and its dependent aorist participle “cleanse” in the hina clause of Ephesians 5:26 eliminates the fact that Christ progressively sanctifies and washes the church by the Word as it is preached, taught, and received until the expected day when He completes the work at His coming and “present[s] . . . to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).[695] A good case could be made that Hebrews 2:14 contains an effective aorist verb, just like Romans 6:6 and Ephesians 5:25-27. The use of katargeo in Hebrews 2:14 is, as noted earlier, syntactically very similar to Romans 6:6—the ultimate destruction of the devil in the lake of fire is assured by the death of Christ, but the fact that the Lord Jesus, through the conversion of sinners, starting of churches, and even Satan’s Millennial binding (Revelation 20:1-3) achieves many partial victories that forecast Satan’s ultimate demise is not eliminated because of the aorist in Hebrews 2:14. One can also note that the aorist subjunctive of katargeo in 1 Corinthians 15:24 is employed for the action of Christ of progressively putting down all His enemies, until He finally destroys the last enemy, death (15:24-26). Indeed, the parallel between Christ progressively defeating all His enemies until they are finally destroyed in 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 is very close to the progressive defeat and ultimate destruction of sin in the life of the believer in Romans 6:6. Comparable examples of katargeo and related texts about sanctification in the New Testament thus provide excellent support for taking the destruction of the body of sin in Romans 6:6 as a gradual process during life that culminates in sin’s final defeat at the believer’s glorification, employing an effective aorist.

            Furthermore, the present subjunctive of katargeo is not found anywhere in the New Testament—all instances of the subjunctive are in the aorist (Romans 6:6; 1 Corinthians 1:28; 15:24; Hebrews 2:14). Nor are there any instances of the verb in the present subjunctive in the apostolic patristic writers.[696] The present subjunctive of the verb may not have been much of a live option at all.

            Thus, employing the aorist subjunctive of katargeo in Romans 6:6 to state that “that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” does not by any means negate the gradual weakening of the power of the flesh in progressive sanctification, while it emphasizes the ultimate destruction of sin in the believer at glorification. The connection with the present infinitive of “serve,” a comparison with the aorist subjunctive in connection with sanctification in Ephesians 5:25-27, the categorization of the aorist in both Romans 6:6 and in Hebrews 2:14 as effective, the comparison to Christ’s progressively dominant reign in 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, and the nonexistence of the present subjunctive of katargeo in the New Testament and related Koiné literature all validate the appropriateness of the aorist. Indeed, a present subjunctive for the verb would be inappropriate, as it would suggest that even in heaven sin is not ultimately destroyed, but only progressively weakened. The aorist subjunctive in the purpose clause of Romans 6:6 is the appropriate tense to express the gradual mortification of sin and its ultimate utter abolition in glory that is the certain result of the believer’s cocrucifixion with the Lord Jesus Christ in regeneration.

G. How Does God Make Believers More Holy in Progressive Sanctification?

            As proven in the earlier portions of this composition, in regeneration, God supernaturally changes the predominant inclination of the believer from unholiness and rebellion to obedience. The one who has been born of God no longer is unable to do spiritual good or follow after God (Romans 3:11; John 6:44, 65; Jeremiah 13:23), nor is he enslaved to fleshly lusts. His entire person—mind, affections, spirit, soul, body, will, and heart—all of his being is made new in regeneration and then progressively renewed into the image of Christ by sanctification. His spiritual portion is given a new inclination towards holiness, and a knowledge and understanding of God, both of which were absent before his regeneration, and his body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. In progressive sanctification, by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, the influence of indwelling sin is gradually weakened, and the new nature of the saint strengthened. Progressive sanctification is the continuation and strengthening of the new principles imparted at regeneration, a process completed at glorification.[697] In progressive sanctification, the Christian’s intellectual and practical knowledge of God increases, as does the strength of the predominant bent of his will, his inclination in his soul, towards holiness. Likewise, the influence of his ethically sinful flesh, of his remaining spiritual tendency towards evil, weakens. As God fills him with holy moral qualities (Romans 15:13), he becomes “full of goodness” (Romans 15:14c), of inward personal holiness, and “filled with all knowledge” (Romans 15:14d), intellectual and experiential knowledge of God and His Word, with the result that he performs holy actions (Romans 15:14e). This inward progressive transformation, performed by the supernatural power of the Spirit of God, leads to his performance of holy actions. His body also becomes more holy as he more and more separates himself from all that defiles it. When he is glorified, his inclination towards holiness becomes absolute and fixed, indwelling sin is utterly extirpated, he enters into full knowledge of God, and he receives a perfectly holy glorified body. He becomes entirely holy, body, soul, and spirit, and fit to the absolute limit of his created capacity for fellowship with and the knowledge and service of his Triune God, as the moral image of Christ is made perfect in him.

            The changes within the believer in regeneration, sanctification, and glorification are not physical in the sense that anything in the substance of a believer’s humanity changes. An unregenerate man possesses the same human nature as a regenerate man. Birds, fish, and mammals on the redeemed Millennial earth will still be members of the same created kinds, possessing the same animal substance, with their progenitors in the current world-system. A less holy Christian possesses the same type of body, soul, and spirit as a more holy one, and in the New Jerusalem the saints will still be truly and genuinely human, even as their incarnate Savior possesses a true and complete human nature, redeeming, as the second Adam, the full humanity that He assumed in the incarnation. Thus, there is no alteration in the believer’s substance in progressive sanctification. Mortification does not eliminate any constituent element of his humanity, nor does vivification impart any new physical element.

            Regeneration and progressive sanctification begin and continue an ethical change, not a physical one, within the Christian.[698] The new nature imparted to the believer in regeneration is not a change of the substance of his humanity, but a new inclination, a change in the bent of the faculties of his soul and spirit. He comes to possess knowledge of God and the ability and desire to love, commune with, and obey Him. The development and growth of this new nature to maturity (cf. 1 John 2:12-14; Ephesians 4:13) is a spiritual and ethical development, not a physical and substantial one. When Scripture speaks of the flesh as the controlling power in the unregenerate and as a sinful element in the Christian, reference is not made to the human body as such, but to an ethical and immaterial inclination towards evil that reigns in the children of the devil and continues to afflict God’s children in their earthly pilgrimage, although it is dethroned. In progressive sanctification, mortification does not not eliminate elements of the human substance, nor does vivification add new physical constituents; rather, the spiritual and ethical revolution that reversed the believer’s ultimate allegiance from sin to holiness is strengthened. Thus, speaking substantially, progressive sanctification does not involve either the weakening or eradication of any elements of human nature, but speaking ethically, progressive sanctification involves the weaking and progressive eradication of the flesh and the growth and development of the new holy nature imparted at the moment of the new birth, an ethical alteration that will be completed only at glorification with the full restoration of moral likeness to Christ.[699]

III. The Certainty of Practical Sanctification For All The Regenerate

A. Scripture Clearly Teaches That All Saved People Will Be Changed

            Scripture teaches that all who have been regenerated, and are consequently crucified with Christ, will be practically sanctified. There is no such thing as a justified man who is totally unchanged[700]—indeed, there is no such thing as a believer who does not have a supernatural, evident change (Matthew 13:8; Mark 4:8, 20).[701] A few of the many texts that prove this esssential Biblical doctrine will be examined.[702]

1 Corinthiains 6:9-11 and Galatians 5:18-24 teach that true believers will not be fornicators, idolators, adulterers, sodomites, thieves, and so on, because they have a new nature, being now “washed . . . sanctified [and] . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). The “unrighteous” (a‡dikoß) of 6:11, who will be excluded from God’s kingdom, is the “unjust” (a‡dikoß) of 6:1, the one who is not a brother but an unbeliever (6:6). Indeed, Scripture regularly contrasts the believer and the unbeliever as “the just and the unjust” (dikai÷wn te kai« aÓdikw◊n, Acts 24:15; cf. Matthew 5:45; 2 Peter 2:9), but the regenerate are never called “unrighteous” in the Bible.[703] All believers are, in contrast, not the “unrighteous” (a‡dikoß, v. 9) but those God views as righteous (dikaio/w, v. 11) because of their justification and sanctification. A contrast is not made between backslidden believers and obedient believers in v. 9-11, but between the people of God and the children of the devil. Similarly, Galatians 5:18-21 contrasts the believers in the church at Galatia (“ye/you,” 5:18, 21) with the unsaved (“they,” v. 21). Those who receive condemnation in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:18-24 are not backslidden believers, but the unregenerate.

When the Bible affirms that “they which do such things [oi˚ ta» toiauvta pra¿ssonteß, those who practice such sins as the dominant characteristic of their lives] shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21), it is impossible to interpret the warning that those who practice such sins “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 5:21) as merely a loss of reward for those who actually end up in heaven anyway. None of the 18 references to the verb inherit (klhronome÷w) in the New Testament distinguish between a higher class of believers that inherit the kingdom and a lower class that somehow are saved but do not have an inheritance (Matthew 5:5; 19:29; 25:34; Mark 10:17; Luke 10:25; 18:18; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 15:50; Galatians 4:30; 5:21; Hebrews 1:4, 14; 6:12; 12:17; 1 Peter 3:9; Revelation 21:7); rather, the overwhelming contrast is between those who are saved, and thus “inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19:29), “inherit the kingdom” (Matthew 25:34), “inherit the [Millennial] earth” (Matthew 5:5), “inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17), “inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:21), and “inherit all things” (Revelation 21:7), and the lost who do not inherit eternal life.

Similarly, the related noun inheritance (klhronomi÷a) is regularly used to contrast what all saved people receive and all usaved people do not. Ephesians indicates that all who have the indwelling Spirit have the inheritance (1:13-14), all the predestinated have the inheritance (1:11; cf. 1:18), but “no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (5:5), for all such are “the children of disobedience” under the “wrath of God” (5:6; cf. 2:1-3) who have not been brought into union with Christ by faith and inwardly changed (2:4-10) and made into “children of light” (5:8). All those who have been “begotten . . . again” have an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven” (1 Peter 1:3-4). While the noun inheritance is sometimes used for the physical passing on of property to heirs by those who have deceased (cf. Luke 12:13), the noun, like the verb to which it is related, never contrasts a higher class of saved people from a lower class of those who are saved but have no inheritance (Matthew 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 12:13; 20:14; Acts 7:5; 20:32; Galatians 3:18; Ephesians 1:14, 18; 5:5; Colossians 3:24; Hebrews 9:15; 11:8; 1 Peter 1:4).

Furthermore, not one of the seventy-two verses in the New Testament that employ the phrase kingdom of God indicate that some saved people will be in the kingdom and others who are saved will somehow not enter the kingdom (Matthew 6:33; 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43; Mark 1:14-15; 4:11, 26, 30; 9:1, 47; 10:14-15, 23-25; 12:34; 14:25; 15:43; Luke 4:43; 6:20; 7:28; 8:1, 10; 9:2, 11, 27, 60, 62; 10:9, 11; 11:20; 12:31; 13:18, 20, 28-29; 14:15; 16:16; 17:20-21; 18:16-17, 24-25, 29; 19:11; 21:31; 22:16, 18; 23:51; John 3:3, 5; Acts 1:3; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:20; 6:9-10; 15:50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; Revelation 12:10). While there certainly are phases of the kingdom, from its current spiritual form (Romans 14:17) to its future Millennial and eternal aspects (Revelation 12:10), all the lost are outside of the current spiritual form of the kingdom and will be excluded from its Millennial and eternal phases, and no saved person is outside of the present spiritual kingdom, nor will any of the saved be excluded from the coming Millennial and eternal aspects of the kingdom. The contrast in Scripture is consistently between those who “enter into the kingdom of God” and those who are “cast into hell fire” (Mark 9:47) without any third category of saved people who do not enter the kingdom.

            Sound exegesis makes it obvious that 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Galatians 5:18-24 teach, as do many other passages (Ephesians 5:5; 1 John 3:3-10; Revelation 21:8, 27; etc.) that no saved person, because he has received a new nature in regeneration, will be dominated by and continually practice sins such as fornication, theft, or idolatry. Since Scripture states, “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), someone who states that believers can be fornicators, idolators, drunkards, extortioners, and so on, is teaching exactly the opposite of what God has declared in His Word. Such a person has been deceived, and should heed the Scripture: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:5-6).

Many further passages of Scripture likewise teach the impossibility of a believer living just like an unconverted person. Just as, because of the dominant sin principle in him, it is impossible for an unbeliever to truly do good works, so it is equally impossible for a believer to be dominated by ungodly works, because of the dominant Divine principle of grace (Matthew 7:18-19), and thus the fact that everyone who does not do good works will be damned (Matthew 7:19) does not in any wise undermine eternal security. Christ’s promise is that “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:18). One notes that the parallel passages make it very clear that good works, not simply orthodox doctrine, is intended by good fruit (Matthew 3:8-10; Luke 6:43-48; Matthew 7:26-27—although orthodox doctrine is included within the larger category of good works).

The New Testament or Covenant (Hebrews 8:8-12; 9:15; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Jeremiah 31:31-34) involves God’s promises of certain obedience: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Scripture is very clear that people who are dominated by sin will not enter the kingdom of God because they have never been saved.

John 15:1-11 teaches that the one who does not, as a summary of his life, continue (note the aorist tense in 15:6 for meno) faithful to Christ is, as a branch without genuine connection to the Lord, and one consequently with only an outward profession of Christianity, cast into hell fire, where he will be continually burned (present tense, 15:6) for all eternity. The image of John 15:6 is not one of loss of reward for a believer who never brings forth any fruit. Other than John 15:6, the verbs “cast forth” (ballo) and “burned” (kaio) are found together only in Revelation 8:8; 19:20. Neither reference speaks of believers being cast forth or burned. Revelation 19:20 (cf. 20:11-15; 21:8, “the lake which burneth (kaio) with fire and brimstone”), however, demonstrates that the lost will be “cast (ballo) . . . into a lake of fire burning (kaio) with brimstone.” Furthermore, out of 125 instances of the verb “cast forth” (ballo) in the New Testament, believers are never once said to be cast forth by God, but the lost are, over and over again, said to be cast (ballo) into the fires of hell (note Matthew 3:10; 5:13, 25, 29-30; 7:19; 13:42, 48; 18:8-9; Mark 9:42 (cf. vv. 41-48), 45, 47; Luke 3:9; 12:58; 14:35; Revelation 2:22; 12:4, 9, 13; 14:19; 18:21; 19:20; 20:3, 10, 14-15). Thus, the verse indicates that a total lack of fruit is evidence of a non-living connection to the vine and thus of a unregenerate individual. The present tense of ballo, in “cast” them into the fire, refers vividly (cf. the present tenses in Matthew 3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9; Revelation 2:22) to the unconverted being cast into eternal torment. The judgment of the lost in hell fire is associated with a similar plant and fruit-bearing image to that of Matthew 3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9. These unregenerate, apostate, “withered” and fruitless branches (cf. Jude 12; Job 8:11-13; James 1:11), of which Judas is the contextual example in John 15, are often “cast forth” (also ballo, here aorist, as in Mark 9:45, 47; Revelation 20:15) in a certain sense in this life, through outward apostasy from the church, to which they had been outwardly united (cf. Matthew 13:47), whether voluntarily or through church discipline, but their ultimate rejection and separation from the elect will take place at the day of judgment. At that time the wheat and chaff, the branches truly united to Christ and those only professedly so, will be “gathered” (sunago, cf. Matthew 3:12; 13:30; 25:32; Luke 3:17) to their respective destinies of eternal joy and torment. The branches without union to Christ will glorify God’s justice in their miserable damnation; they will not glorify God here by good works, but they will glorify His justice by their being burned eternally (Ezekiel 15:2-5; Romans 9:22). Note that Christ, in John 15:6 says “if a man” abide not, rather than “if ye abide not,” for, Judas having been separated from them, the remaining disciples were all genuine believers.[704]

Ephesians 2:8-10 states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God has ordained that all those justified by grace through faith apart from works will do good works. Good works mark a believer’s life (2:10) as evil works mark an unbeliever’s life (2:2-3). The certainty of the unconverted living for the devil is the same as the certainty of a believer living for God, although both those who have sin reigning in them and those who have grace reigning in them fulfill their predominant principles in different degrees.[705] The verb translated ordained in Ephesians 2:10, proetoimadzo, is found elsewhere in the NT only in Romans 9:23, where it refers to God’s elective decree of the vessels of mercy to glory.[706] Thus, this verb refers to God’s decretive will, which is never frustrated. “The active [voice] is used in our literature [the Bible and early Christian writings] only of God” (BDAG). Proetimadzo is not used for God’s desire or wish, but for His decretive will, in the New Testament, as it is in the apostolic patristic writings.[707] Note also the common use of hetoimadzo for the certain decree of God in the New Testament.[708] Thus, Ephesians 2:10 teaches that God’s unalterable sovereign decree is that those saved by grace will do good works. There is no such thing as an unchanged believer. Someone who is unchanged does not have saving faith (James 2:14-26).

Christ’s High Priestly ministry guarantees that all believers will be sanctified. In John 17, the Lord Jesus prays that all those who have ever believed on Him (John 17:8, 20) will be with Him in heaven for all eternity: “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). If even one person who ever trusted Christ for salvation were lost, the prayers of the Son of God would be a failure, something that is totally impossible (John 11:42), indeed, something blasphemous and unthinkable. However, Christ not only prays that all believers will be with Him in heaven, but that God the Father would make them all holy through the instrumentality of the Word of God: “Sanctify[709] them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Christ’s High Priestly ministry would be a failure, and the prayers of God’s Beloved Son would be rejected, were one believer to not reach heaven. The same unthinkable consequences would follow were one believer unchanged and left unholy. Christ has prayed that all believers will be sanctified—so all believers are absolutely certain to be sanctified.[710]

Many passages of Scripture teach that all those who are justified will also be progressively sanctified and evidently changed. Some of these texts have been examined here (Matthew 7:18-19; John 15:1-11; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:18-24; Ephesians 2:8-10; 5:5-6; Hebrews 8:8-12; and Revelation 21:8, 27). The assertion that regenerate people may be dominated by sin and entirely unchanged and fruitless is a rserious false doctrine and, indeed, an assault upon the power and nature of the gospel. Indeed, it is a fundamental misunderstanding of what is involved in justification and regeneration:

Corruption is the very penalty of sin from which we are freed in justification; holiness is the very reward which is granted us in justification. It is therefore absurd to suppose that sanctification can fail where justification has taken place. Sanctification is but the execution of the justifying decree. For it to fail would be for the acquitted person not to be released in accordance with his acquittal. . . . “[J]ustifying faith” itself necessarily brings sanctification, because justification necessarily issues in sanctification—as the chains are necessarily knocked off of the limbs of the acquitted man.[711]

On the other hand, the fact that all believers are certain to be sanctified, because of their union with Christ and the omnipotent power of God, is a great motive to the saint to press onward in his spiritual growth. Certainty of success provides him with a tremendous encouragement and incentive in his holy warfare against sin. “Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies” (Psalm 60:12).

B. 1 John Teaches That All Saved People Are And Will Be Different

            The view that only some believers possess the marks mentioned in 1 John was popularized in the late 1980s by the antinomian heretic Zane Hodges,[712] under the influence of the weakness of Keswick theology on the certainty of the transformation of the regenerate stemming back to Keswick founder Hannah W. Smith.[713]

 

C. Excursus I: Does Colossians 2:6 Teach Sanctification by Faith Alone?

A variety of writers and speakers on sanctification[714] have affirmed that Colossians 2:6[715] establishes that the Christian serves the Lord in the same manner as that in which he received Christ at the moment of his conversion, that is, by faith alone. Indeed, in the Higher Life and Keswick movement “the text, more than any other, that . . . express[es] what [is] taught and experienced, is . . . Col. ii. 6, 7.”[716] The verse allegedly establishes that one lives the Christian life by faith alone without works, just as one is justified originally by faith alone without works. It is argued that “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him,” establishes that one lives for Christ now in the same manner in which one originally came to Him for mercy. A first act of simple faith received Christ for justification, and the justified Christian must subsequently with an additional or second act of faith receive Christ for sanctification. “As,” or in the same manner that one received Christ, “so,” in the same way, one is to walk in Him.

The word translated “as,” hos (wJß), is a common coordinating conjunction that appears 493 times in the New Testament. There are nine major definitions listed in BDAG, with a variety of subcategories, providing a great variety of potential significations. A study of hos oun(wJß ou™n), the construction found in Colossians 2:6, will be more helpful (and less exhausting) in understanding Colossians 2:6 than an examination of the hundreds of instances of wJß in a different construction. The wJß ou™n construction appears seven times in the New Testament:

John 4:1 ÔWß ou™n e¶gnw oJ Ku/rioß o¢ti h¡kousan oi˚ Farisai√oi o¢ti ∆Ihsouvß plei÷onaß maqhta»ß poiei√ kai« bapti÷zei h£ ∆Iwa¿nnhß

John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

John 4:40 wJß ou™n h™lqon pro\ß aujto\n oi˚ Samarei√tai, hjrw¿twn aujto\n mei√nai par∆ aujtoi√ß: kai« e¶meinen e˙kei√ du/o hJme÷raß.

John 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

John 11:6 wJß ou™n h¡kousen o¢ti aÓsqenei√, to/te me«n e¶meinen e˙n wˆ— h™n to/pwˆ du/o hJme÷raß.

John 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

John 18:6 wJß ou™n ei•pen aujtoi√ß o¢ti ∆Egw¿ ei˙mi, aÓphvlqon ei˙ß ta» ojpi÷sw, kai« e¶peson camai÷.

John 18:6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

John 20:11 Mari÷a de« ei˚sth/kei pro\ß to\ mnhmei√on klai÷ousa e¶xw: wJß ou™n e¶klaie, pare÷kuyen ei˙ß to\ mnhmei√on,

John 20:11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

John 21:9 wJß ou™n aÓpe÷bhsan ei˙ß th\n ghvn, ble÷pousin aÓnqrakia»n keime÷nhn kai« ojya¿rion e˙pikei÷menon, kai« a‡rton.

John 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

Colossians 2:6 ÔWß ou™n parela¿bete to\n Cristo\n ∆Ihsouvn to\n Ku/rion, e˙n aujtwˆ◊ peripatei√te,

Colossians 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

            A study of these texts demonstrates that in each of the instances besides Colossians 2:6, hos oun is a temporal marker. This would strongly suggest that it is so in Colossians 2:6 as well, supporting a view that the “as” is not an affirmation that one is to walk in Christ in the same way as one received Him originally for salvation, but a declaration that since or as one received Him in a past time, one is consequently commanded to walk in Him. The idea of “in the same way, then” is impossible as a rendering of the New Testament hos oun constructions other than Colossians 2:6. A temporal notion for hos oun is also supported by the LXX,[717] the apostolic patristic literature,[718] generally contemporary pseudepigraphical works,[719] Philo,[720] and Josephus.[721] In contrast, the “in the same way, then” idea is entirely unsupported. The Koiné background makes it clear that the hos ounof Colossians 2:6 is a declaration that as the Colossian church received Christ temporally in the past, they were consequently to walk in Him. The syntax of the passage does not affirm that Christians are to walk by faith alone now in the same manner in which they received Christ by faith alone; it simply states that they did receive Him in the past, and commands them to walk in Him. No second act of faith where Christ is specifically appropriated for sanctification by the believer is mentioned or hinted at anywhere in the passage. The way believers are to walk in Him is explicated in v. 7, not by the first clause of v. 6. There is nothing in the syntax of Colossians 2:6-7[722] that indicates that a believer is sanctified by faith alone in the same way that he was originally justified by faith.[723] One who preaches this doctrine from Colossians 2:6-7 is not preaching what the Holy Spirit, the Author of sanctification, intended when He inspired the text. Since the Holy Spirit does not lead men to misinterpret Scripture, one who preaches Colossians 2:6-7 as a proof-text for a doctrine not found in the passage is not being led by the Spirit. Such a one is also not helping Christians to be genuinely sanctified, but is misleading them and hindering their growth in grace.

            Not only does Colossians 2:6-7 fail to teach sanctification by faith alone, or that one must take Christ in a second work of grace for sanctification, but such doctrines are absent from the entirety of the Bible, contradicting the affirmations of some theologies of sanctification.[724] If the New Testament were filled with statements such as: “We conclude that a man is sanctified by faith without the deeds of the law,” or “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be sanctified in his sight,” or “Knowing that a man is not sanctified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be sanctified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be sanctified,” (compare Romans 3:28, 20; Galatians 2:16), the conclusion that Scripture teaches sanctification by faith without works in the same way that justification is by faith without works would be justified. However, there are no such verses in the New Testament.[725] Furthermore, the Bible contains commands in relation to sanctification such as 2 Peter 1:5-11: “[G]iving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity,” so that these holy character traits “abound” in the believer. Believers are never told that, to advance their justification, they must add virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, and have these traits of holiness abound in them—but they do advance their sanctification in this manner. Justification is by faith without works, but while faith is absolutely necessary for sanctification (Hebrews 11:6),[726] progressive growth in holiness involves not faith alone, but also effort and works, in a way justification does not.[727]

            The fact that neither Colossians 2:6-7, nor any other text in Scripture, teaches that the believer is sanctified by faith alone just as one is justified by faith alone should not be employed to minimize the essential role of living by faith for progressive sanctification. The truth of 2 Corinthians 5:7, “we walk by faith, not by sight,” and the fact that “without faith it is impossible to please . . . God” (Hebrews 11:6) must not be neglected. Believers must live by faith and grow in their faith.[728] They should not misinterpret Colossians 2:6-7 and adopt a doctrine of sanctification by faith alone that is absent from the Bible, and so hinder their growth in holiness, nor react against this misinterpretation of Colossians 2:6-7 to minimize the importance of living by faith, and so hinder their growth in holiness.

D. Excursus II: Romans 7:14-25:

A Depiction of Part of the Normal Christian Life

In Romans 7:14-25, Paul refers to the normal state of his Christian life as representative of believers in general. He does not speak of his unconverted state. Unbelievers do not hate sin (Romans 7:15) and have nothing within themselves that is against it (7:16-17, 19-20[729]), nor do they will to do right (7:18; cf. 3:11), nor do they “delight in the law of God,” nor do they possess a holy “inner man” (7:22), nor do they have a godly mind that wants righteousness (7:23, 25; cf. 1:28; 8:5, 7; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 1:21; 2:18; Titus 1:15) and “thank God through Jesus Christ” because of freedom from the bondage of sin (Romans 7:25). Francis Turretin[730] effectively demolishes the position that Romans 7:14-25 deals with Paul in his unregenerate state:

Socinus [believes] that Romans 7 does not treat of Paul as renewed, but as constituted under the law. . . . Arminius agrees with him. . . . [However,] we cannot recede from the opinion commonly received among the orthodox, which is that Paul speaks of himself as renewed and that this severe struggle (often occuring between the old and new man, the flesh and spirit) is here described by him.

        There are various reasons which prove it: (1) from the notation of time.[731] Paul does not speak in a past tense (as before in v. 9), but in a present tense—“I am carnal” (v. 14); “I do not the good I would, I delight in the law of God” (v. 19, 22). Now when he wrote this, he was no more under the law, but under grace. (2) He treats of him to whom the willing of good and the nilling of evil (or a hatred of sin) belongs: “For what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (v. 15) and “For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (v. 18). Now this belongs only to the renewed, in whom God works both “to will and to do” (to thelein kai to energeini) although they are not always allowed to carry out what they wish (for us, to others who can think nothing good,how can they be said to will it?). (3) He treats of him who consents to the law of God in the inner man and who delights in it (v. 22), from which delight arises service—“With the mind I serve God” (v. 25). But who would say that any other than a believer delights in the law of God and according to it serves God; or that the inner man is any other than the new man?[732] He is frequently designated as such (Ephesians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Peter 3:4). (4) He speaks of him in whom are distinguished two principles: one according to which he does the evil which he would not; the other according to which he does not perpetrate evil, but sin dwelling in him perpetrates it, and according to which he serves God (v. 17-19). Now it is evident that this can be said only of the believer, who has within him the old man and the new man, the flesh and the Spirit. (5) He treats of him who groans on account of his misery and who seeks and wishes for deliverance and congratulates himself and gives thanks when he has obtained it (v. 24-25)—which refer to no one except the renewed person. (6) A middle state between the regenerate and unregenerate is a pure invention, as if there were a middle ground between the child of God and the child of the Devil, between a living and a dead man. Nor can this be referred to the state under the law because those who lived under it were either reprobates (who were under it as a covenant and so under its curse, Galatians 3:10); or renewed (who were under it as a dispensation, in which although more sparingly and obscurely, still the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit was granted to them).

        Paul ascribes nothing here to himself which cannot be found in the renewed. Not his saying that “he is carnal and sold under sin” (v. 14), because this is not to be understood absolutely, but comparatively and relatively;[733] as Paul calls the Corinthians “carnal, and not spiritual” (1 Corinthians 3:1) because they still exhibited in their actions many remains of the flesh and the old man. Not a universal sale and captivity as to state, as if he were still under the dominion of sin, because thus he would neither delight in the law of God according to the inner man, nor could he be said to serve God with his mind; rather a particular captivity and selling as to certain acts, in which sense the flesh is said to lust against the Spirit, so that we do not what we would (Galatians 5:17). Nor when he says “sin dwells in him,” because it is one thing to dwell, another to reign. That denotes the presence of sin as it exists in the believer even unto the end, but this denotes its tyranny and dominion, which is overcome by the Spirit of Christ. Not that “he wishes for deliverance” from “the body of death,” since the believer is freed from the law of sin and death. For an inchoate deliverance and a perfect deliverance differ: one is from the curse of the law and exposure to death; the other from the dominion of sin and mortality (which attends it). The believer has already obtained the first, but he as yet expects and wishes for the other.[734]

        Although a struggle between the appetite and reason often occurs in the unregenerate, such as in the Medea of the poet, who said, “I see the good, approve it too, and yet the wrong pursue” (Ovid, Metamorphosis 7:20-21 [Loeb, 1:342-343]), still there is a great difference between this and the struggle of the flesh and the Spirit of the renewed (of which Paul speaks). (1) As to their causes, the struggle of the unrenewed arises from the dictation of the conscience (or the strictures of the natural light, which have their seat principally in the intellect) and from the fear of punishment; the struggle of believers arises from the new and supernatural quality or principle of the Holy Spirit, which is spontaneously borne along to those things which are good; not only from a slavish dread of punishment, but from a filial reverence of God. (2) As to their subject, the light of the unregenerate is merely theoretical, remaining in the intellect and not reaching to the heart. But the light of grace (granted to the renewed) not only inheres in the governing (to hegemoniko) or superior part of the soul, but passes also to the concupiscible (to epithymetikon) or its lower part. (3) As to their objects, the contest of the unregenerate is occupied only about the more gross sins, which all abominate by the natural light; while the contest of believers is occupied with those also which (in the external court of men) are neither subjected to punishment, nor to any rebuke. (4) As to their effects, the former struggle can consist with the daily practice of sin and if it sometimes causes that good be done or evil avoided, still it can never arise to this—that it should be well done—and so represses rather than destroys sin; hence at last the reason with its light yields and is conquered. But in the struggle of believers, the flesh is bruised and mortified to such a degree that even if it cannot be eradicated absolutely and as yet exerts itself in many acts, still it cannot prevail, but is at length overcome by the Spirit, who makes believers more than conquerors (hypernikan).

To make Romans 7:14-25 into a description of an unconverted sinner is more consistent with Pelagianism than with the Biblical picture of the depravity of man.[735]

Romans 7:14-25 also cannot be correctly understood as the life of a lower category of Christian who has not discovered the secret of sanctification by faith alone or of higher life theology but is trapped in legalistic bondage and attempts at self-dependent Christianity and so lives in perpetual sin and defeat. Lewis Sperry Chafer presents this view:

Two extended passages bear upon the conflict which continues in every believer between the flesh and the Spirit, and therein is presented the only way of deliverance. In the first of these passages (Rom 7:15 to 8:4), the Apostle testifies, first, of his own complete failure and, second, of his victory. The failure is complete in spite of the fact that he has made his greatest possible effort to succeed. In Romans 7:15–25 the conflict is between the regenerate man (hypothetically contemplated as acting independently, or apart from, the indwelling Spirit) and his flesh. It is not between the Holy Spirit and the flesh. Probably there is no more subtle delusion common among believers than the supposition that the saved man, if he tries hard enough, can, on the basis of the fact that he is regenerate, overcome the flesh. The result of this struggle on the part of the Apostle was defeat to the extent that he became a “wretched man”; but, out of this experience, he learned a most vital and important lesson, namely, that there are two mighty tendencies always in the child of God, one aspiring to that which is good, and the other demanding that which is evil. This is the meaning of the conflict between “I,” the old nature, and “I,” the new nature, as recorded in Romans 7:15–25, and there could be no more conclusive verdict rendered at the end of this impotent effort than the Apostle sets forth in verse 25: “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh [I serve] the law of sin.”

        The Apostle’s testimony is not closed thus. He goes on to report the discovery of a new principle of procedure, and a new and sufficient power available. The “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” quite apart from his own regenerate self which had so ignominiously failed, makes him free from the law or power of sin and death (8:2). He testifles further that “the righteousness of the law,”-meaning here vastly more than any written code, including, as it does, all the will of God as to every detail in every moment of the believer’s life-is fulfilled in him, but never fulfilled by him. This marvelous experience, the Apostle goes on to state, is granted to those only “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (8:4). Thus the Apostle prepares for the truth set forth in the second major passage (Gal 5:16–24) where the conflict is not between the regenerate man and his flesh with its inevitable defeat, but between the indwelling Holy Spirit and the flesh. We read:   “This I say then, Walk in [or by dependence on] the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (5:16). No greater promise of victory over the flesh could be extended to the child of God than this. Not, indeed, by self-crucifixion of the flesh, nor by a supposed second work of grace by which the flesh is eradicated, but by the immediate and unceasing, overcoming power of the Spirit. The believer must learn the life of faith in which he depends upon the provided power of God. Apart from this faith there is only defeat; but with this faith there is blessed deliverance from the flesh and its lusts or desires.[736]

Without question, a believer who is self-dependent, who is not looking in faith to his Triune Sanctifier for strength and spritual life, is going to decline spiritually (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:9).[737] Believers must live by faith if they are to grow (cf. Hebrews 11:6). However, Romans 7:14-25 does not specifically deal with this fact, nor does Romans present Paul in a lower Christian life in 7:14-25 from which he allegedly passes, starting in Romans 8:1, into a higher life of faith. Romans 7:14-8:4ff. does not teach that there are two sorts of Christians, one type that lives in perpetual defeat and the other in perpetual victory. Chafer’s view has a number of serious problems. First, while a distinction between believers who are in fellowship with God and drawing closer to Him, and those who are out of fellowship, is clearly present in Scripture (1 John 1:9; 1 Corinthians 11:29), nowhere does the Bible speak of regenerate people who are “complete[ly] failure[s]” and produce no fruit at all.[738] Second, it is impossible for a believer to make “his greatest possible effort to succeed” in living for God while wickedly rejecting the aid and assistance of the Holy Spirit. Third, while saints can certainly grieve and quench the Spirit, one must very seriously question if a regenerate man can totally and absolutely “act independently, or apart from, the indwelling Spirit.” Where does the Bible clearly present such a possibility? On the other hand, if Chafer means that such rebellious absolute independent action by saints is merely “hypothetically contemplated” but never actually exists in the world, one would wonder why such an extended passage of Scripture would address a situation that never actually takes place, and wonder whether advocates of Chafer’s position ought to preach from Romans 7:14-25, since nobody on earth is ever actually in the situation presented. Fourth, Romans 7:14-8:4ff. does not set up a contrast between two categories of Christians, one of which has a lower life of perpetual defeat and the second of which has a higher life of perpetual victory because they are in the sub-category of Christians “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8 teaches that all who are “in Christ Jesus” will “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”[739] (8:1)—those who do not walk after the Spirit instead of the flesh are still unregenerate and under “condemnation” (8:1). Those who are still “after the flesh” rather than “after the Spirit” (8:5) are the enemies of God who are headed to spiritual death in hell, while all believers, all who are indwelt by the Spirit, are “after the Spirit” (8:6-12) and characteristically walk after the Spirit. Those who live after the flesh will die spiritually, while those who are “led by the Spirit of God”—led “through the Spirit [to] mortify the deeds of the body”—they, and they only, “are the sons of God” (8:13-14).

Sound exegesis demands that the death which those who walk after the flesh undergo in Romans 8 (and those who characteristically yield themselves to sin in Romans 6; cf. v. 16, 21) is spiritual death in hell, not just some sort of lack of fellowship with God experienced by regenerate people who are allegedly stuck in a Romans 7:14-25 type of Christian experience. The verb for death in Romans 8:13, apothnesko (aÓpoqnhØ/skw), used in the warning “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die,” is found 49 times in Paul’s epistles and 111 times in the New Testament.[740] Among a variety of other categories of use, the word is clearly employed with a reference to spiritual death by both Paul (Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:14) and other New Testament writers (John 6:50; 8:21, 24, 52; 11:25-26; Jude 12). Not one of the 111 instances of the verb clearly speaks of saved people suffering a “death” consisting of lack of fellowship with God because of a legalistic Christian life. Furthermore, the death promised the carnally minded in Romans 8:6, indicated by the noun thanatos (qa¿natoß), which appears 119 times in the New Testament[741] and which Paul employs 50 times in his epistles, is clearly used, among a variety of other ideas, for spiritual death by Paul (Romans 1:32; 5:12, 21; 6:23; 7:5; 2 Corinthians 3:7), and other New Testament writers (Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79; John 5:24; 8:51-52; 1 John 3:14). Indeed, thanatos is the word employed for “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone . . . the second death” (Revelation 21:8; 2:11; 20:6). Not one clear New Testament text employs thanatos for a spiritual “death” experienced by the regenerate on earth when they are allegedly stuck in a Romans 7:14-25 type of life. Also, the verb live (za¿w) in Romans 8:13 promises eternal life to those who through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body. The verb is used 71 times by Paul and 142 times in the New Testament.[742] It is never used for a sort of spiritual life possessed only by an elite group of Christians, while it is employed (among other uses, such as the common sense of physical life) for the everlasting life possessed by all God’s people by Paul and other New Testament writers (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38-39; John 6:58; 11:25). The related noun for life (zwh/), which appears 39 times in Paul (cf. Romans 6:22-23; 8:2, 6) and 134 times in the New Testament,[743] is used the large majority of the time for eternal life[744] in Paul and the rest of the New Testament but is never used for a Christian life possessed only by some believers. Neither the words for death nor the words for life in Romans 6-8 are ever clearly used for a type of spiritual life possessed only by a certain group of higher-level Christians or for a type of death possessed only by a certain group of lower-level Christians.[745] Thus, all Christians, all who are “in Christ,” not a certain portion only, are characterized by a walk that is “after the Spirit” and not “after the flesh” (Romans 8:1). Those who characteristically walk after the flesh are unsaved and headed to spiritual death in hell, while those whose lives are characterized by a walk after the Spirit will, because they have been justified by faith alone and been given a new nature, receive eternal life. This exegetical fact means that the idea that a certain portion of Christians is described in Romans 7:14-25, while another group is described in Romans 8:1ff., is impossible.

Futhermore, the statements of 8:1-4 are tied into 7:14-25. Romans 8:1ff. is not set in contrast to 7:14-25, but explains it. “Therefore”[746] (8:1)—because of the truth of 7:14-25—there is no condemnation to those in Christ, those who walk after the Spirit, not after the flesh, having been set free by regeneration (8:2ff.). Unbelievers have no struggle with sin, since they have no new principle in them through regeneration, but believers have a new spiritual life so that they hate sin, delight in the law of God, and serve Him (7:15, 22, 25). Those with this new principle of life in them will be saved (8:1, 6, 10-11, 13-14) and will be different (8:1-4, 13-15). The development of the argument in Romans 7:14-8:1ff. demonstrates that the idea that one category of Christians is described by the second half of chapter seven and another category by chapter eight is false. Romans 7:14-25 describes the struggle in every true believer, in those who are “in Christ Jesus” and therefore “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (8:1), those who with their mind serve the law of God (cf. 12:2) and thank God through Christ Jesus for the progressive victory over sin the Spirit produces in them (7:25). Indeed, the closer a believer grows to God, the more the victory over sin described in Romans 6-8 is experientially manifest in his life, the more he will hate the indwelling sin that still remains in him, and the more passionately he will be able to concur with the lamentations of Romans 7:14-25 about what remains of his indwelling corruption. Romans 7:25-8:1ff. proves that 7:14-25 do not describe a hopeless,[747] flesh-controlled, sub-par Christian, but a Spirit-produced striving against indwelling sin, the normal Christian life of the apostle Paul and the rest of the regenerate.

            J. I. Packer discusses and critiques the Keswick position[748] set forth by Hannah W. Smith[749] and advocated by Steven Barabas[750] and others,[751] which is very similar to the position of Chafer,[752] and which Pentecostalism took over from its Keswick parent,[753] and argues against it:

Keswick scouts the Augustininan[754] view that Romans vii reflects Paul’s normal, everyday experience, on the ground that it records only “heart-breaking defeat” (p. 76), “ineffectual struggle” (pg. 81), “spiritual stalemate,” (p. 82).[755] This, Keswick affirms—rightly—is not the New Testament picture of healthy Christian life. Dr. Barabas quotes with approval the remark that “if normal Christian experience does not rise any higher than that, then we must change our Lord’s invitation to read, ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will tell you how to be wretched . . . !’” Instead, Keswick affirms that verses 7-25 show “what happens when any person, regenerate or unregenerate, tries to conquer the old nature by self-effort” (p. 77), i. e. without the use of the Keswick technique of consecration and faith. “The key to the interpretation,” it is suggested, “is found in the frequent repetition of ‘I,’ while there is not a single mention of the Holy Spirit. . . . In chapter viii, however, where there are at least twenty references to the Holy Spirit and the ‘I’ drops out, there is a triumphant note throughout.” Normal Christian living, therefore, is not in Romans vii, but in Romans viii, “and is experienced as the Holy Spirit by His counteractive power is permitted to have His way” (p. 82).[756]

        It seems impossible to pronounce this exegesis a success. It is arbitrary and gratuitous. There is nothing in the text or context to suggest it. It has to be read into Paul’s words, for it cannot be read out of them. “So then,” Paul sums up (vii. 25), “with the flesh [I serve] the law of sin.” He means, glosses Moule (Comm[entary on Romans, on 7:14-25]), “wherever and whenever I ‘revert’ to the life of self.” But this limiting gloss is nowhere in the text. Again, the Keswick “key” to the passage is quite unplausible; for Paul, so far from opposing the Christian’s working to the Spirit’s, as if the one excluded the other, constantly treats the second as the ground of, and incentive to, the first (Philippians ii. 12-13, etc.). Moreover, Keswick, on this showing, completely misrepresents the . . . view [that Romans 7:14-25 is a description of the normal Christian life] which it rejects. There is nothing in the passage to warrant the description of Paul’s conflict with sin as heart-breaking defeat, stalemate, or inffectual striving. These epithets could be justified only if it were true that there are no degrees of deliverance, so that anything less than complete victory is complete defeat. But this is just what is in dispute, and ought not to be taken for granted. The truth plainly is, that Keswick exegetes were already prepossessed with the idea that healthy Christian life is a “maintained condition” (pp. 72, 83) of complete victory over known sin before they came to study Romans vii; and it was this cramping assumption that compelled them to read the chapter statically instead of dynamically. Hence they found in it nothing more than a confession of failure; for their preconception exluded from it altogether the idea of progress, in which [other] expositors find the real key to its meaning. In actual fact, writes Dr. Warfield, this passage “depicts for us the process of the eradication of the old nature . . . what is really in the chapter is divine grace warring against, and not merely counteracting but eradicating, the natural evil of sin . . . the working of grace is by process, and therefore reveals itself at any given point of observation as conflict.”[757] The deliverance which grace effects is never final in this world, but is continuous and progressive. And all that Paul actually says in verses 14-25 is that at present his intention always exceeds his achievement,[758] that though he would be perfect he is always something less than perfect, and that he longs for the day when by Christ’s power sin will have been rooted out of hiim completely and his reach will no more exceed his grasp (vii. 24; cf. vii. 23).

        The new exegesis, then, is not preferable to the old. It appears to be the result of reading Romans vii in the light of a preconceived and unproven theory which excludes any sense of imperfect attainment from the healthy Christian consciousness. And its rejection means the rejection of [the Keswick conscept of sanctification as] complete counteraction as doubly erroneous; for our examination of Romans vii confirms us in the belief that the Christian’s sanctification, while far less than complete, is far more than counteraction. It is nothing less than the progressive uprooting of sin within him by the conquering energy of the Spirit of God.[759]

Romans 7:14-25 is not a description of Paul before his conversion, nor of the Apostle in some sort of state of legal bondage from which he is delivered in Romans 8 to enter into a higher Christian life. The second half of Romans 7 depicts an aspect of Paul’s normal Christian life, the aspect that relates the normal Christian life to the holy law of God, [760] and is in this respect a paradigm for the Christian life and growth of all believers.[761]

Application of the Exegesis of Romans 7:14-25

            Since Romans 7:14-25, continuing into chapter 8, is a description of the normal Christian life, as seen in the godly Apostle Paul, a number of conclusions necessarily follow.

            1.) You should beware of claims of Christian experience that allegedly are different and higher than Romans 7:14-8:4. A believer who affirms that he has reached a higher plane where he never has to struggle with sin is surely either self-deceived or a hypocrite, for he makes a claim to a level of Christian experience that exceeds any promised in the Bible for the believer’s earthly pilgrimage. Any Christian on earth who thinks he has risen to a plane above one where he can regularly follow the model prayer’s request, “forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4), has allowed the deceitfulness of sin to very greatly lead him astray.

            2.) While focusing on Christ, strive at all times to be aware of, on guard against, and strenuously opposing the motions of indwelling sin. To be unware of your remaining corruption is very dangerous and an indication of serious spiritual deficiency. Furthermore, if you convince yourself that you have reached a higher plane where you no longer struggle against sin, and where your desire for righteousness no longer exceeds the measure to which you have arrived at (Romans 7:15), you will seriously hinder your further progress in grace. The Lord Jesus promised: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). You should be filled with a boundless hunger for greater holiness than you possess, and hate the fact that you still have such awful remains of corruption within you. God will bless such hunger and thirst after righteousness by filling you ever the more with His holiness. Thinking that you have entered a state where you no longer need to hunger and thirst for greater holiness than you have will cause this blessed hungering and thirsting, and the Divine holiness that is imparted by means of it, to abate. Do not make the mistake of confusing a proper desire to resist and not hold on to any sin—a proper Christian sincerity and upright walk—with freedom from all conscious sin. How will becoming unconscious that your flesh is constantly lusting against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17) be of any spiritual benefit, rather than of certain spiritual weakness? Rather, you should grow in your hatred for your indwelling sin, and in your understanding of its lusting. Your ability to mortify indwelling corruption will be hindered if you pretend that it is perfectly counteracted or that its actions are in any way different from what they truly are.

            3.) Humble yourself greatly because of your own vileness, wickedness, and worthlessness. Will you add, on top of all the sin you have already, that of pride and blindness to your own sinful condition?

            4.) Recognize that it is a certain principle that, especially when you seek to do good, evil is then present with you (Romans 7:21).[762] Be especially on your guard against sin when you are engaged in especially spiritual activities, from public worship to personal devotions.

            5.) Recognize that the closer you are to the Lord, and the more the Holy Spirit conforms you to the image of Christ, the greater this conflict against sin will become. Isaiah was especially conscious of his sin (Isaiah 6:4) when he saw Jehovah on His throne, high and lifted up (Isaiah 6). “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). The more His light shines upon you, the more you will see, hate, and strive against what darkness remains within you.

            6.) Focus on the promise of spiritual victory that the Lord has given to you. The promise is not that you will, on earth, reach a place where spiritual warfare is no longer necessary, but that you can make continued and constant progress in the eradication of indwelling sin and growth in holiness. When Joshua and the armies of Israel were promised victory in the land of Canaan, they were not promised that all the heathen would be eliminated in a day, but that “the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little, until thou be increased, and inherit the land” (Deuteronomy 7:22; Exodus 23:30). Nor was the Lord’s covenant with Israel that all the Canaanites would remain, unweakened and defiant as ever, in the land, but simply be supressed so that Joshua could forget that they were there, which would be no true victory at all. Rather, the promise was that Israel would, strengthened by Jehovah, win battle after battle and take into actual possession more and more of the land that was all already legally deeded to them. “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life” (Joshua 1:5; cf. 1:1-9), for “[y]e are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). As none of the strongholds of the heathen in Canaan could stand against Joshua, strengthened and led by Jehovah, so there is not a sin that you cannot make ever consistent progress against—indeed, the New Covenant in Christ’s blood makes your progressive victory now, and ultimate victory in the future, an absolute certainty. So do not despair if the warfare is long, nor delude yourself into thinking that you can put down your weapons and rest at any point in this life. Rather, take to heart the promise made to Joshua: “Be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7-9).

            7.) Let the reality of your continued battle with sin in this life make your thoughts of and longing for heaven all the sweeter. Oh, to be free from even the presence of sin! “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). How wonderful will it be to find yourself perfectly conformed to the moral likeness of Christ, and enjoying unbroken fellowship with Him for all eternity! How glad you will be, then, for every battle fought, for every victory won! Press on, oh Christian pilgrim—victory is coming, and victory is secure. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

E. Excursus III: Does Galatians 2:20, Or Any Other Text of Scripture, Teach that

Christ Lives the Christian Life Instead of the Believer?

Some have employed Galatians 2:20 to affirm that Christ lives the Christian life instead of the believer, or at least the believer who enters into[763] the Higher Life[764] or the Christ-life.[765] It is difficult to figure out what the meaning is of such an affirmation; it would seem to lead to either the heresy of the absolute perfection of the believer in his will, nature and in all his acts, for Christ considered in His human nature is absolutely perfect in His will, nature and His acts, or to the heresy that Christ fails and Christ sins when the believer sins,[766] since, allegedly, Christ, not the believer, is living the believer’s life.[767] Happily, since Galatians 2:20 never states that Christ lives the Christian life instead of the believer, neither heresy has any support whatsoever from the text. The verse affirms that 1.) Paul was crucified with Christ, 2:20a. 2.) Nevertheless, he was spiritually alive; the apostle had spiritual life, that he “might live unto God,” Galatians 2:19; 2:20b. 3.) The “I” who was now alive was not the same “I” as before Paul’s conversion (cf. Romans 7:17), in that Paul was no longer an ungodly, unregenerate person, a natural man and a slave of the old covenant, as he was when he was under the law (Galatians 2:19). He was now dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:10-11). The good in his life was not sourced in himself, but in the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10). He now had a new principle within him and was a new man, Galatians 2:20c. 4.) Christ now indwelt Paul, and was the source of spiritual life and strength for him, 2:20d. 5.) The Apostle now lived his natural life in his body by faith in Christ, 2:20e. 6.) Christ loved Paul, and died for him, 2:20f.

            The “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”[768] in Galatians 2:20 does not mean that Paul actually did not live the Christian life and the Lord Jesus lived it instead of him. Such a conclusion would neglect the fact that Paul specifically says “I live.” Furthermore, Paul does not say, “Christ liveth instead of me,” but “Christ liveth in me.”[769] The “yet not I” clause means simply that Paul did not have strength sourced in himself to follow the Lord, but he received grace from Christ to enable him to “work out [his] own salvation with fear and trembling [since] it is God which worke[d] in [him] both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). Paul personally “strived” to serve the Lord, but nonetheless his service was what “Christ hath . . . wrought by [him]” (Romans 15:20, 18). Parallel Pauline texts shed much light on the “not I, but Christ” portion of Galatians 2:20:

1.) “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, (oujk e˙gw¿, aÓll∆ oJ Ku/rioß) Let not the wife depart from her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:10). Paul certainly did command the wife not to depart from her husband. He was very active in making this command. However, more importantly, it was God Himself who made the command through Paul. It would be poor exegesis to conclude from this verse that Paul himself did not really command wives not to leave their husbands because the command was sourced in God.

2.) But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (oujk e˙gw» de÷, aÓll∆ hJ ca¿riß touv Qeouv hJ su\n e˙moi÷)” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Obviously God’s enabling grace strengthened Paul to work, and all the glory for Paul’s labor was given to the grace of God, as is evidenced by the “yet not I, but the grace of God” affirmation. Nonetheless, Paul labored very actively and fervently, indeed, “more abundantly than . . . all.” It would be poor exegesis to conclude from this verse that Paul really did not labor at all because his ability to labor came from God.

3.) “Now then it is no more I that do it (transgress; nuni« de« oujke÷ti e˙gw» katerga¿zomai aujto/), but sin that dwelleth in me . . . . Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me (oujke÷ti e˙gw» katerga¿zomai aujto/, aÓll∆ hJ oi˙kouvsa e˙n e˙moi« aJmarti÷a).” (Romans 7:17, 20; cf. Romans 7:14-25). Before Paul was converted, his entire being consented to and produced nothing but sin. His statement in Romans 7:17, 20 means that the sins that he did as a regenerate person no longer proceeded from the unified desire of his whole person. Rather, Paul’s transgressions were now sourced in the remnants of sinfulness that remained within him. Nonetheless, whenever Paul sinned, the Apostle was by no means passively employed by some exterior agent moving him unconsciously to transgress—he still chose to do so himself.

4.) The Old Testament, and other New Testament texts,[770] present a similar picture. Joseph tells his brothers in Genesis 45:8: “So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God (My¡IhølTaDh y™I;k hÎ…n$Eh ‹yItOa M§R;tVjAlVv MR;tAa_aáøl h#D;tAo; LXX, nuvn ou™n oujc uJmei√ß me aÓpesta¿lkate w—de aÓll∆ h· oJ qeo/ß): and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” Joseph’s “not you . . . but God” statement does not mean that Joseph’s brothers did not sell him into slavery (cf. 45:5, “ye sold me hither”), but simply that God was the ultimate sovereign source of his being sold. In Exodus 16:8, “Moses said . . . [T]he LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD,”[771] but the affirmation that Israel’s grumbling was ultimately against Jehovah certainly did not mean that when “the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness” (Exodus 16:2) they did not really murmur against Moses and Aaron.

            Similarly, Paul’s “not I, but Christ” statement in Galatians 2:20 means that the source of the Christian life that Paul lived was not his own inherent ability or strength, but Christ’s grace and power. The Apostle’s declaration models the pattern set by his Savior, that Son of Man who stated “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30) and “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). The Lord Jesus, in His human nature, was entirely submissive to and dependent upon the enablement He received beyond measure from God. One sees, however, extremely active labor for the Lord in the incarnate Christ. The Divine Person of the Son also did not work independently of the Person of the Father, but nonetheless the Son of God actively did whatsoever He saw the Father do.

In Galatians 2:19-21 Paul is proving that he is dead to the law (2:19a) and not trusting in the law for salvation and frustrating the grace of God by so doing (2:21) but instead is living unto God (2:19b, 2:20). He is not proving that somehow he does not live the Christian life but Christ lives it instead. Paul and all Christians are given strength and grace from Christ, apart from whom they can do nothing good, John 15:5, and they are to live by faith. Certainly the facts of the saint’s union with Christ, the Savior’s indwelling presence, the spiritual life that is derived from Him, and the power He gives believers to will and do of His good pleasure are glorious truths worthy of that joyful acceptance and humble meditation that results in loving, faith-based obedience. However, to go beyond the actual declarations of Galatians 2:20 to say that the believer does not live the Christian life but Christ Himself does it instead is to make the verse affirm what it does not say and thus grieve the Spirit and displease Christ. Such an affirmation also confuses the Christian who believes it, hinders his sanctification, and opens the way to serious Christological error. The glorious truths of Galatians 2:20 should neither be minimized and ignored nor turned into something other than they are by illegitimate extrapolation.

            A few other passages can be employed to attempt to support the doctrine that the Lord Jesus Christ lives the Christian life instead of the believer. However, no text in Scripture actually affirms such a proposition. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11 refers to “the life . . . of Jesus.” However, the reference is to spiritual life produced by and sourced in the Lord Jesus, not to the Lord Jesus Himself personally living the Christian life instead of the Christian. Paul speaks of the spiritual life produced by the Lord Jesus in him in connection with the renewing of his inner man (2 Corinthians 4:16)[772] and associated with the physical suffering and persecution through which he was troubled, distressed, and persecuted (4:8-9), was being always delivered to death (4:11), had his outward man perishing because of affliction (4:16-17), and thus bore in his body “the dying of the Lord Jesus” (4:10).[773] The believer’s spiritual life is unquestionably produced, sustained, and increased by Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus, and the entire Godhead, alone receive the glory for all the believer’s spiritual life and growth, as the Author and Sustainer of all; “the excellency of the power [is] of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). This fact is weighty and wondrous truth. It differs, however, from the unscriptural affirmation that the Lord Jesus Christ actually lives the Christian life instead of the Christian living the Christian life.

            Colossians 3:4 speaks of “Christ, who is our life.” Again, the passage makes no reference whatsoever to Christ living the Christian life instead of the Christian living the Christian life. The verse indicates that all believers, not a minority only that have found a secret Higher Life, but all who will “appear with Him in glory” (3:4),[774] are in union with and identified with Christ, have their lives hid with Christ in God (3:1-3), and will consequently be with Him when He returns to bring in the Kingdom. The Lord Jesus is the One who guarantees them eternal life, and is the Author of all spiritual life and blessings to them, and, indeed, the One who gives them all blessings and good things of every kind whatsoever. However, Colossians 3:4 does not teach that Jesus Christ lives the Christian life instead of the believer, much less that Christ lives the Christian life for an elite minority of believers that have discovered a Higher Life.

Parallel passages illustrate the sort of eisegesis required to make Colossians 3:4 teach the doctrine that Christ lives the Christian life while the Christian does not. Deuteronomy 30:20 states: “The LORD thy God . . . is thy life, and the length of thy days, that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers.” Does this passage affirm that the Lord lived the Jewish life instead of the children of Israel, and that He also lived out the length of their days in Canaan instead of them (whatever that could possibly mean)? Or does the passage rather teach the obvious truth that God was the One who gave the children of Israel life and length of days? Deuteronomy 32:46-47 commands: “Set your hearts unto all the words which I [Moses] testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land.” Does this passage mean that the children of Israel did not live the Jewish life, but the law lived the Jewish life instead of them, because the text says “this law . . . is your life”? Does it prove that the Jew cannot and must not live the Jewish life, but only the Pentateuch can live the Jewish life? Or does the text, rather, obviously mean that obedience to the Law of God would lead Israel to live a long time in the land of Canaan? What exegesis fits the obvious meaning of texts such as Psalm 27:1 (“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”) and Psalm 42:8 (“Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”)? The ideas read into—not out of—Colossians 3:4 about Christ living the Christian life are impossible in other Biblical texts that contain similar phraseology.

It is an inexpressibly glorious truth that Christ, as God, possesses self-existent life, and that He as the God-Man[775] is the fountain and source of the believer’s derived eternal spiritual life.[776] Life supplied by Christ and in union with Him (Colossians 3:1-4) is the basis for the mortification of indwelling sin (Colossians 3:5). It is certainly true that the Lord Jesus is the Author, Preserver, Upholder, and Finisher of the Christian’s spiritual life. Such life is communicated to the believer by Christ, with whom the saint has come into an intimate mystical union. Furthermore, the believer must trust in and obey Christ if he wishes to grow in grace. However, it is false and dangerous to pure doctrine and a holy life to teach that Christ lives the Christian life instead of the believer. Benjamin B. Warfield correctly wrote:

[T]he believer . . . is made alive in Christ—and it is he that is made alive. It is not only that he has Christ in him and Christ is living, but it is he himself that is living, for Christ has made him alive: yes, he has life in himself (John 6:53). It is not true that [t]he believer is portrayed as a man in himself spiritually dead, indwelt through the Spirit by Jesus Christ, who is his spiritual life[.] [Rather, he] is portrayed as a man who is spiritually alive, in whom Jesus Christ the source of all his life, dwells by His Spirit. The man himself is saved, and his new holiness is his holiness. It is a grave error to suppose that the living Christ can dwell within us without imparting life to us. He quickens whom He will: and he whom He quickens, lives.”[777]

Biblical and historic Baptist truth recognizes the glorious fact of union with Christ and the need to seek strength from Him by faith. The Christian grows in personal holiness as he is quickened by that Divine-human Savior with whom he has been united. Such truth must not be corrupted by unscriptural additions or subtractions, such as the idea that the believer does not personally become holy as he lives for God, but that Christ Himself actually lives the Christian life instead of the believer.[778]

F. Excursus IV: Hebrews 3-4 As An Alleged Evidence

For Perpetually Sinning Christians

            Some affirm that when Hebrews 3-4 speaks of unbelieving Israel wandering in the wilderness for forty years, so that their “carcases fell in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:17), the text pictures people who are saved but never begin the process of Christian growth, which is alleged to originate typologically only with Israel’s crossing the Jordan River into Canaan.[779] Thus, Hebrews 3-4 is alleged to demonstrate that some saved people live and die in perpetual carnality and sin, acting in every way like the unconverted. Such a conclusion faces severe problems.

            First, typology should never be used to question or overthrow plain passages of Scripture. The many plain texts that affirm that all believers will be progressively sanctified cannot be overthrown because of conclusions derived from typology.

Second, Jude indicates that the Israelites who died in the wilderness do not picture perpetually carnal saved people, but lost people who are eternally damned. Speaking of unconverted false teachers who are “ordained to . . . condemnation” (v. 4), Jude writes: “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not” (v. 5). He continues by comparing these people who are “ordained to . . . condemnation” and who “believed not” to “the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, [who are] reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (v. 6) and to the sodomites who, “giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (v. 7). The people who did not believe and who died in the wilderness are suffering in eternal fiery torment with demons and sodomites. They are not saved people who just never started living for Christ. What the context of Jude 4-7 requires also receives support from the fact that the unbelievers of v. 5 are “destroyed” (aÓpo/llumi). This verb, while it does not absolutely require eternal damnation in hell (cf. Romans 14:15; 1 Corinthians 8:11; also Matthew 9:17; 8:25; 2:13, etc.), is very commonly used for the everlasting perdition of the lost (Matthew 10:28; Luke 13:3, 5; John 3:15-16; 10:28; 11:50; 17:12; Romans 2:12; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 2:15; 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 2 Peter 3:9, and many other texts, including, notably, Jude 11).

Finally, in Hebrews 3-4, those who died in the wilderness picture lost people, not saved people who just never grew. First, God has “wrath” (ojrgh/) against those who die in the wilderness (Hebrews 3:11; 4:3). The lost face the wrath (ojrgh/) of God, the “wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7), since “the wrath of God abideth” on them (John 3:36), and they treasure up to themselves “wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5; cf. 1:18; 2:8; 3:5) as the “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Romans 9:22), the “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3; cf. 5:6; Colossians 3:6), facing the coming “wrath of the Lamb . . . the great day of his wrath” (Revelation 6:16-17; cf. 11:18), for they “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and . . . be tormented with fire and brimstone . . . the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever” (Revelation 14:10-11), facing “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15; 11:18; also 1 Thessalonians 2:16). In contrast, believers, “being now justified by [Christ’s] blood . . . shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9), since “Jesus . . . delivered [them] from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10), and “God hath not appointed [them] to wrath, but to obtain salvation by [the] Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). God’s wrath against the people who die in the wilderness in Hebrews 3-4 indicates that they were unconverted lost sinners.

Second, the individuals in question in Hebrews 3-4 had “an evil heart of unbelief” (kardi÷aˆ ponhra» aÓpisti÷aß) (Hebrews 3:12). Evil, unconverted men have evil hearts, while saved people have renewed hearts (Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45; cf. Ezekiel 36:26). Furthermore, while the rest of the New Testament does sometimes employ aÓpisti÷a in connection with Christ’s disciples (e. g. Matthew 17:20), Paul uses the noun only for the unconverted (Romans 3:3; 4:20; 11:20, 23; 1 Timothy 1:13; the other two references are those in question, Hebrews 3:12, 19). The “evil heart of unbelief” that the individuals discussed in Hebrews 3-4 possessed led them to departing, to apostasy from (aÓposthvnai, Hebrews 3:12) God. The verb depart/apostatize in Hebrews 3:12 is also employed in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (cf. also Luke 8:13; 13:27). While the verb can be used for believers who depart from or fail to complete a task (cf. Acts 15:38), nowhere does the New Testament state that saved people depart from God. Thus, to affirm that regenerate individuals have “an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12) is extremely problematic. Nor is the problem alleviated by the fact that the warning of Hebrews 3:12 is addressed to “brethren” (3:12)—Paul was a Jew, and he wrote Hebrews to his Jewish brethren (cf. Acts 1:16; 2:29, 37; 3:17, 22; 7:2, 37; 13:15, 26, 38; 22:1; 23:1, 5, 6; 28:17, 21; Romans 9:3). Clearly, just as many of Moses’ Jewish brethren in the wilderness were unregenerate, so many of Paul’s Jewish brethren warned in the book of Hebrews were unregenerate, and thus had evil hearts, were in unbelief, and departed from the living God.

            Third, the individuals in Hebrews 3-4 were warned about being “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13; cf. 3:8, 15; 4:7). In the texts outside of the book of Hebrews, however, those who are hardened are unsaved Christ-rejectors (Acts 19:9) whom God will not show mercy (Romans 9:18). The hardening terminology in Hebrews suits the unconverted, those who “after [their] hardness [sklhro/thß] and impenitent heart treasurest up unto [themselves] wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).[780] It does not suit the regenerate.

            Fourth, Hebrews 3:18 states, “to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?” The verb employed in Hebrews 3:18 for unbelief (aÓpeiqe÷w) appears sixteen times in the New Testament (John 3:36; Acts 14:2; 17:5; 19:9; Rom 2:8; 10:21; 11:30-31; 15:31; Hebrews 3:18; 11:31; 1 Peter 2:7-8; 3:1, 20; 4:17), and always of the unregenerate. Those who are in unbelief have the wrath of God on them (John 3:36). No New Testament text states or implies that believers are in apeitheo, in unbelief or disobedience. Similarly, the related noun unbelief or disobedience (aÓpei÷qeia) found in Hebrews 4:6, 11 is employed in the New Testament for the unregenerate alone (Romans 11:30, 32; Ephesians 2:2; 5:6; Colossians 3:6; Hebrews 4:6, 11). Likewise, the related adjective unbelief or disobedience (aÓpeiqh/ß) limits such unbelief and rebellion to the unregenerate (Luke 1:17; Acts 26:19; Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:16; 3:3). The adjective apeitheis, the noun apeitheia, and the verb apeitheo, “unbelief,” all demonstrate that those who do not enter the rest of Hebrews 3-4 are unregenerate.

            Fifth, Hebrews 4:2 states that “the gospel preached . . . did not profit [those who died in the wilderness], not being mixed with faith in them that heard it,” indicating that those the people in question did not have “faith” (pi÷stiß). The noun pistis appears 244 times[781] in the New Testament. Huge numbers of verses with the word refer to the saving faith of the regenerate (Romans 3:28; 5:1; Galatians 2:16; etc.). Only three of the 244 texts refer to the unsaved possessing pistis, each of them contrasting the saving faith that produces works with a dead “faith” that produces nothing (James 2:17, 20, 24).[782] None of the 174 instances of pistis in the Pauline epistles speaks of it as a possession of an unsaved person.[783] Since faith is the possession of the regenerate, the people who had no faith in Hebrews 3-4 are not saved people who just never grew and need revival; they are lost people who are dead in trespasses and sins.

            Sixth, when Hebrews 4:3 states, “we which have believed do enter into rest” (ei˙serco/meqa ga»r ei˙ß th\n kata¿pausin oi˚ pisteu/santeß), the aorist participle believed naturally speaks of the single act of saving faith, through which all the saved enter into spiritual rest, rather than a moment-by-moment continuing faith decision to possess a post-conversion higher Christian life that allegedly enables a believer to begin doing good works. The other aorist participles of believe in Paul refer to the point action of the exercise of saving faith (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:12; cf. Jude 5), as do the significant majority of the aorists of pisteuo in Paul generally (Romans 3:2; 4:3, 17-18; 10:9, 14, 16; 13:11; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 15:2, 11; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 2:16; 3:6; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:11-12; 1 Timothy 1:11; 3:16; Titus 1:3; Hebrews 4:3; 11:6).

            Seventh, the references in Hebrews 3-4 to Psalm 95:7-11 prove that those that hardened their hearts and died in the wilderness typify the unconverted, as do other portions of the psalter where such people are affirmed to have “believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation” (Psalm 78:22, 32). In Psalm 95:8, the warning is given: “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” When the Old Testament speaks of those who harden (hvq) their hearts, or employs similar phraseology (“hardened their necks,” etc.), the phrases regularly refer to the unconverted, and not one text clearly deals with saved people hardening (hvq) their hearts (cf. Exodus 7:3; Deuteronomy 2:30; 10:16; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 30:8; 36:13; Nehemiah 9:16-17, 29; Job 9:4; Proverbs 28:14; 29:1; Jeremiah 7:26; 17:23; 19:15. Note that each instance is in the Hiphil). Furthermore, the verb rendered “grieved” (fwq) in Psalm 95:10 could also be translated “loathed” (cf. Ezekiel 6:9; 20:43; 36:31; Psalm 95:10; 119:158; 139:21; Job 8:14; 10:1); it is difficult to think that Jehovah loathes, possesses deep-seated abhorrance and detestation of, His beloved saints. Those who tempt God in the Psalter, as those did who perished in the wilderness (95:9), are unconverted (Psalm 78:18, 41, 56; 106:14). Similarly, the statement that those who perished “have not known [God’s] ways” (y`Dk∂r√d …wño√dÎy_aøl) (Psalm 95:10) indicates that those in view are lost sinners, not saints (cf. Exodus 18:20; 33:13; Joshua 3:4; Judges 18:5; Job 21:14; 23:10; Psalm 25:4; 67:3; 95:10; 103:7; 143:8; Proverbs 3:6; 4:19; Isaiah 42:16; 59:8; Jeremiah 5:4-5). In Hebrews 3-4, those to whom God swore in His wrath that they would not enter His rest (Psalm 95:11; Numbers 32:10) are pictured as lost men, not saved people who do not produce fruit or who are not revived.

            Anyone who employs Hebrews 3-4 to evidence that some saved people never grow, based on the example of the Israelites who did not believe God and wandered in the wilderness for forty years, errs seriously in his exegesis. Proper hermeneutics does not employ typology to mitigate or overthrow plain didactic statements in Scripture. Furthermore, Hebrews 3-4 presents the people who died in the wilderness as unbelievers under the wrath of God and headed for hell. Nothing in Hebrews 3-4 favors the idea that saved people can be perpetually ungodly and be dominated by sin, or that sanctification does not begin in the regenerate until a post-conversion second blessing takes place.

G. Excursus V: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)[784]

            Ephesians 5:18 states: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” In the context of Ephesians 5:15-17, Paul instructs the Christians at Ephesus to live wisely: to walk circumspectly, avoiding sin, while at the same time redeeming opportunities to serve the Lord. The “and” (kai÷) beginning v. 18shows the connection of v. 18 to v. 15–17; the verse marks a transition from a general fact to a particular instance of walking wisely in daily life.

            The first command of Ephesians 5:18 prohibits intoxication.[785] “Be not drunk” (mh\ mequ/skesqe) is a present imperative, a general precept forbidding growing drunk, as the prohibition of being unwise in v. 17 was also a general precept. As verse 17 did not indicate that the Ephesians were already unwise, so verse 18 does not indicate that the Ephesians were already getting drunk, which would have been a matter for church discipline. The root of the verb for drunkenness in v. 18, mequ/skw, is one of a number of words that are related to inebriation. This particular verb not only prohibits the state of being drunk, but it also denounces here the process leading to drunkenness.[786] The verse does not allow any room for being intoxicated, since it prohibits the entire process which leads to becoming drunk, including the first glass and the first sip of alcohol.[787] The first drink a person takes puts him on that poisonous path toward becoming fully intoxicated. Furthermore, Scripture never states that one becomes drunk after a certain number of alcoholic beverages. Rather, after one drink, one is drunk to a certain degree; after two, one is drunk twice as much; after three, one is drunk that much more, and so on. The first drink affects one’s understanding and actions. Even in things that are lawful, unlike alcoholic beverages (Proverbs 20:1), believers are not to be “brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12); how much the more must they never give control of their minds and bodies to alcohol, rather than always retaining a “sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)? As in the Wisdom books of the Old Testament (Proverbs 23:29-35; 20:1),[788] abstinence from alcohol is enjoined.

            In modern English vernacular, wine solely indicates a fermented drink made from grapes. However, the Greek word oi•noßcan be used to describe any form of the grape and does not always indicate that which is fermented;[789] the English word wine was also a generic term that could be used of both fermented and unfermented beverages in 1611 when the Authorized Version was translated.[790] Sometimes context indicates that oinos is grape juice (cf. Matthew 9:17; John 2:3; 1 Timothy 5:23), while at other times the word refers to that which is fermented (Mark 15:23). In Revelation 19:15, the phrase “the winepress of wine” (th\n lhno\n touv oi¶nou) appears, but it certainly is difficult to think that the wine was alcoholic the moment it was pressed out of the grapes (cf. Revelation 14:20). The oinos of Revelation 19:15 is immediately drunk by the nations as they immediately face the wrath of the Lord Jesus Christ and are destroyed upon His return, so oinos in this passage necessarily refers to a beverage which is immediately pressed out of a winepress and is immediately drunken—there is no time for fermentation, since the Lord Jesus Christ does not wait some period of time at His second coming to allow His enemies to successfully fight against Him, but He destroys them all immediately. The context of Ephesians 5:18a clearly indicates that the verse refers to fermented and intoxicating oinos which the Bible always forbids. The believer is to make no gateway for the consumption of any type of alcoholic beverage.

            The next phrase of Ephesians 5:18a, “wherein is excess” (e˙n wˆ— e˙sti«n aÓswti÷a), is often misunderstood as an explanation of what level of consumption of alcohol is permissible. One is allegedly permitted to drink fermented wine so long as it is not consumed to the point of drunkenness, which is assumed to be a fixed point, rather than a developing process. However, the idea “do not drink to excess” is not at all the teaching of the passage. First, the meaning of mequ/skw undermines such an idea; the verb not only forbids the state of intoxication but also the process of becoming intoxicated, as noted above. Second, e˙n wˆ— modifies oi¶nwˆ, not, as advocates of “moderate” drinking affirm, the entire clause. The affirmation is not that there is excess in being drunk with wine, but that there is aÓswti÷a in the oinos itself. In the only truly parallel syntactical structures to Ephesians 5:18 in the NT, the noun after the e˙n wˆ— + ei˙mi÷describes the specific noun before it, not an entire clause.[791] Parallel texts in the LXX,[792] Josephus, and Philo support this view of the e˙n wˆ—.[793] Clear examples of the syntactical structure in Ephesians 5:18 where the e˙n wˆ— modifies the entire previous clause rather than the noun immediately preceeding it are lacking. Furthermore, BDAG defines aÓswti÷a as “reckless abandon, debauchery, dissipation, profligacy.” The word appears elsewhere in Titus 1:6 (where the elder is not to be even accusable of asotia (KJV, “riot”), and 1 Peter 4:4, where large amounts of “riot” are in view. The word excess thus means to have a shameful abundance or to be indifferent to moral restraint. Fermented wine, in any amount, has passed the limits; it has gone too far. The KJV wherein is an English prepositional phrase in which, the antecedent being the word wine. People who take this word to mean “getting drunk is excessive” are misinterpreting it. The phrase is therefore describing the noun wine, not the verb be drunk. The understanding is this: “in wine is profligacy/excess.”

            The view that the e˙n wˆ— refers specifically to oi¶nwˆ has precedent in the Latin Vulgate and in the patristic period in the history of interpretation. The Vulgate in Ephesians 5:18 reads: et nolite inebriari vino in quo est luxuria sed implemini Spiritu. The connection between vino (“with wine”) and quo (“which”) is unmistakable in Latin, because the relative quo has the same neuter gender as vino, upon which it depends. Tertullian (A. D. 160-225) renders the text in exactly the same way: et nolite inebriari vino, in quo est luxuria (“And be not inebriated with wine, in which is voluptuousness.”[794] Compare Jerome (who, of course, translated the Latin Vulgate), and identified the object “wine” as the item that has in it the “excess/riot”: “She called to mind the cave in which Lot found refuge, and with tears in her eyes warned the virgins her companions to beware of ‘wine wherein is excess;’ for it was to this that the Moabites and Ammonites owe their origin.”[795]

            In light of Ephesians 5:18, believers must totally abstain from consumption of alcohol. They must also abstain from selling it, giving it to others, owning companies that produce or distribute alcohol through stock or mutual funds, or providing any other support whatsoever to alcohol (Habakkuk 2:15). Furthermore, faithful churches must warn against and separate from those who hold to the error of the “moderate” consumption of alcohol. The position of Scripture—total abstinance—must be strongly set forth and contended for along with the rest of the faith (Jude 3).

            After affirming that the consumption of alcohol in any degree is forbidden in Ephesians 5:18a, Paul sets up a contrast being made between being filled with wine and with the Spirit. Believers were not to be controlled by wine, but “filled with the Spirit” (5:18b).[796] The passive voice of “be filled” also indicates the supernatural Divine initiative in Spirit filling—the believer does not fill himself. The verb “filled” (plhro/w) indicates that believers are to be “fill[ed] to the full . . . fill[ed] up to the top . . . so that nothing shall be lacking to full measure”[797] with the Spirit. “Lit[erally] the term means ‘to fill something completely’ . . . [n]on-lit[erally] it means ‘to fill with a content.’ Pass[ively] [it means] ‘to be filled with’ something; the content may not be specified, the subj. itself is the content, “to fill completely.”[798] The mind-altering control of alcohol was a model to be rejected by saints, sanctified ones. Nothing must control a believer’s mind except God; an emphatic contrast between the control of wine and the control of the Spirit is established. To “be filled” can connote the idea of being “completely controlled and stamped by the powers which fill him.”[799] One who is filled is characterized by that which fills him. One is controlled by Satan when the evil one fills a person’s heart (Acts 5:3).[800] When “sorrow hath filled [one’s] heart” (John 16:6),[801] or evil fills one’s heart (Ecclesiastes 9:3, LXX),[802] such exercise control over one’s life. The result of being filled with wine is the surrender of control to the wine. The result of being filled with the fruits of righteousness is a life directed by righteousness instead of by unrigheousness (Philippians 1:11). The result of being filled with the Spirit is control by the Spirit in the believer’s life.

            Commonly, the Spirit is the content of the filling. One can see this by a comparison of the language of Acts 2:2, 4, where the filling of a house with wind (v. 2, e˙plh/rwsen o¢lon to\n oi•kon) is paralleled to the filling of people (the church, the house of God) with the Spirit (v. 4, kai« e˙plh/sqhsan a‚panteß Pneu/matoß ÔAgi÷ou). Filling for content is the use when the verb pi÷mplhmi is used of filling (Luke 1:15, 41, 67; Acts 2:4; 4:8; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 11:24),[803] when the noun plh/rhßis used for filling (Luke 4:1; Acts 6:3, 5; 7:55; 11:24),[804] and in the only verse other than Ephesians 5:18 where plhro/wis used, Acts 13:52: oi˚ de« maqhtai« e˙plhrouvnto cara◊ß kai« Pneu/matoß ÔAgi÷ou. One should also consider Acts 5:3, ei•pe de« Pe÷troß ∆Anani÷a, diati÷ e˙plh/rwsen oJ Satana◊ß th\n kardi÷an sou, yeu/sasqai÷ se« to\ Pneuvma to\ ›Agion kai« nosfi÷sasqai aÓpo\ thvß timhvß touv cwri÷ou; “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” where the idea is that Ananias was controlled by Satan by means of the fallen angel’s filling Ananias’ heart with evil things. Thus, one would expect the same thing in Ephesians 5:18, namely, that the Spirit is the content of the filling.

            Certain writers, especially advocates of Reformed theology, affirm that Ephesians 5:18 does not, like the texts in Acts, refer to the Holy Spirit as the content of the filling, concluding rather that the text should be rendered as “filled by the Spirit.” Some affirm that every believer is, to one extent or another, Spirit-filled. For example, Daniel Wallace argues: “[W]e know of no clear examples in biblical Greek in which e˙n + the dative indicates content. We should, therefore, seek some other nuance in such instances, as in Eph 5:18. . . . To see e˙n pneu/mati here as indicating content is grammatically suspect (even though it is, in many circles, the predominant view). Only if the flow of argument and/or the lack of other good possibilities strongly point in the direction of content would we be compelled to take it as such. There are no other examples in biblical Greek in which e˙n + the dative after plhro/w indicates content.”[805] Similarly, William Combs argues: “[Ephesians 5:18] would be the only example we have in Greek literature if this really is ‘filled with the Spirit,’ and that is the content . . . there is no filling with the Spirit.”[806] However, these conclusions are erroneous.

            First, if one were to concede that e˙n+ dative does not explicitly express content, but an instrumental/means idea, and thus expresses a parallel idea to the dative oi¶nwˆ, namely, means or instrumentality (cf. the instrumental/means e˙n Pneu/mati structures in Ephesians 2:18, 22; 3:16; cf. also Eph 6:18), it would not eliminate the possibility that one is filled with the content of the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18. While one is not to be drunk with wine, that is, by means of wine, but be filled by means of or with the Spirit, the person who is drunk is not simply drunk by means of wine, but is filled with wine in content. Furthermore, the category, using plhro/w, of dative of content, is employed by Paul in Romans 1:29 and 2 Corinthians 7:4.[807] Likewise, one is filled with the fulness of Christ by means of the Spirit, but one is also filled with the content of the Spirit. While “[b]elievers are to be filled by Christ by means of the Spirit with the content of the fullness of God,”[808] such a fact does not mean that believers are not also to be filled with the content of the Holy Spirit.[809] Indeed, being filled with the Holy Spirit is, since the Spirit is Himself God and in possession of the fulness of Deity, being filled with the fulness of God. Thus, even if one were to concede to the Reformed argument that plhrouvsqe e˙nin Ephesians 5:18 cannot syntacally signify content with a following dative, the conclusion that one is not to be filled with the Spirit does not follow.

            However, there is no need to concede that plhrouvsqe e˙n+ dative cannot be used to signify content. First, it is not especially significant to affirm that plhro/w + e˙nis not content elsewhere in the New Testament. A search for the verb followed by the preposition will only yield 7 verses (Luke 9:31; 22:16; John 17:13; Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:14; Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 4:12), six references other than Ephesians 5:18. In five of the six, plhro/w means “fulfilled” and thus is not especially related to the question of Ephesians 5:18.[810] The structure in Colossians 4:12 is also quite different. Thus, New Testament texts that truly parallel the plhro/w+ e˙n of Ephesians 5:18 are very limited. Furthermore, Colossians 2:9-10 supports a content idea for filling in the believer, employing plhro/w+ e˙n, by a comparison with the way that the content of the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ.[811] Second, the category exists, using plhro/w, of dative of content, which is employed by Paul, Romans 1:29; 2 Corinthians 7:4.[812] Similarly, the Liddell-Scott lexicon indicates that plhro/w is used with the “dat. [as] to fill with.” This category supports “filled with” in Ephesians 5:18. The use of plhro/w with the naked dative for content supports the use of plhro/w + e˙n + dative in Ephesians 5:18 as content.[813] While it is true that naked case usage and case usage after a preposition are not absolutely identical, they usually have substantial semantic overlap.

            Third, in related Greek literature plhro/w + e˙n is followed by the content of the filling, parallel to Ephesians 5:18 as “be filled with the Spirit.” Note Sirach 26:2: “A virtuous woman rejoiceth her husband, and he shall fulfil the years of his life in peace,” gunh\ aÓndrei÷a eujfrai÷nei to\n a‡ndra aujthvß kai« ta» e¶th aujtouv plhrw¿sei e˙n ei˙rh/nhØ. Here the peace is the content of the filling, so parallel Greek syntax to Ephesians 5:18 specifying content is found in the LXX. Furthermore, the only usage of plhro/w + e˙n in the earliest patristic writers is found in Ignatius:

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the church of God the Father and of the beloved Jesus Christ at Smyrna in Asia, mercifully endowed with every spiritual gift, filled with faith and love, not lacking in any spiritual gift, most worthy of God, bearing holy things: heartiest greetings in a blameless spirit and the word of God. ∆Igna¿tioß, oJ kai« Qeofo/roß, e˙kklhsi÷aˆ qeouv patro\ß kai« touv hjgaphme÷nou ∆Ihsouv Cristouv, hjlehme÷nhØ e˙n panti« cari÷smati, peplhrwme÷nhØ e˙n pi÷stei kai« aÓga¿phØ, aÓnusterh/twˆ ou¡shØ panto\ß cari÷smatoß, qeoprepesta¿thØ kai« aJgiofo/rwˆ, thØv ou¡shØ e˙n Smu/rnhØ thvß ∆Asi÷aß, e˙n aÓmw¿mwˆ pneu/mati kai« lo/gwˆ qeouv plei√sta cai÷rein (Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 1:0).

Thus, the only documented instance in the earliest documents of Christiandom has plhro/w + e˙nexpressing content, specifically being filled with the content of faith and love, which is reminicient of New Testament texts that parallel being filled with the Spirit and being filled with Spirit-produced virtues (cf. Acts 13:52; 6:3, 5). It is therefore not surprising that BDAG, on plhro/w, comparing Ignatius’ statement to Ephesians 5:18: “With e˙n and dat. of thing e˙n pneu/mati with the Spirit Eph 5:18. e˙n pi÷stei kai÷ aÓga¿phØ ISm ins.” Thus, the standard Greek lexicon indicates that Ephesians 5:18b is properly rendered “filled with the Spirit.”[814] Furthermore, later patristics also taught that Ephesians 5:18 speaks of being filled with the content of the Spirit.[815] The contention that plhro/w + e˙n cannot mean “filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians 5:18 because it “would be the only example we have in Greek literature”[816] is, therefore, very unconvincing. As in the book of Acts people were filled with the content of the Spirit, so in Ephesians 5:18 all saints are commanded to be filled with the Spirit.

            Having the Spirit’s presence in a special way is the idea behind the Old and New Testament doctrines of Spirit filling—each believer has God the Holy Ghost with and in him, and is to be full of His presence. The full presence of God the Spirit gives the believer His personal influence and enablement to walk wisely (Ephesians 5:15-17). Likewise, as a congregation grows to be made up of Spirit-filled individuals, so the assembly corporately grows to be full of holiness and of the special presence of God the Spirit, and thus is filled with the fulness of God Himself (Ephesians 3:19),[817] resulting in both a personal and corporate holy walk.[818]

            As in sanctification there is the all-or-nothing aspect of an upright and sincere Christian walk that is free from any desire to consciously hold on to sin, so that some Christians are right with God while others are backsliding, and there is also the aspect of progressive renewal into the image of God, so the Spirit’s special presence—His filling—is on one way all or nothing, and in another way something that can progressively increase or decrease. A backsliding believer is disobeying completely the present imperative,[819] requiring continuing and customary action, of “be filled” (plhrouvsqe) in Ephesians 5:18, while the believer who is right with God is enjoined to be continually filled all the more. In the context of Ephesians 5:18a, one is either entirely free from the control of wine or one is not, but for those who are not, there are degrees of drunkenness where control is more and more surrendered to intoxicants. The error that Ephesians 5:18a only prohibits excessive alcohol consumption, but allows “moderate” drinking that tolerates, to a lesser degree, the influence of alcohol over the believer, produces confusion in the command to be filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18b. While the progressive aspect of Spirit filling, through which believers are to be ever the more full of the presence of the Holy Ghost and consequently ever the more under His control, can, to a certain extent, although improperly, be maintained against an alleged prohibition of excessive drinking that nevertheless allows some control by alcohol, the important all-or-nothing aspect of Spirit filling and consequent control is very poorly set in contrast with allegedly allowable degrees of control by alcohol. The command for total abstinence from wine in Ephesians 5:18a is excecedingly important context for the command in Ephesians 5:18b for believers to be filled with the Spirit.

            In Acts 13:52,[820] the spiritual grace of joy, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and the presence of the Spirit Himself, are connected; believers were “filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.” In one way, a believer is either full of spiritual joy, or he is not—a believer who is overtaken by sin loses fulness of joy as he loses the smiling face of his Redeemer. At the same time, the disciples of Acts 13:52 could grow yet more full of joy than they already were as they experienced yet sweeter communion with the God of joy—indeed, such was the prayer of Paul for the members of the church at Rome: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). The consequence of such filling was that the Roman Christians would be “full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (Romans 15:14).[821] God would, Paul prayed, fill these saints with more and more joy and peace so that they would ever more abound in spiritual graces, until perfected at glorification and completely filled “with all joy and peace.” Sanctification includes believers being “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:9-11)[822] and “filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” with the result that they “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10;[823] cf. Colossians 4:12, 17; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:4) as they are filled and completed as they receive of the Divine fulness (cf. Colossians 2:9-10a).[824] In contrast, the unregenerate, as they “wax worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:13), progress to new bottoms in their universally possessed total depravity, as they are “being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness” and grow “full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity” and other sins (Romans 1:29).[825] Thus, all in Acts 13:52 were filled with the Spirit because they were saved and right with God, but they could grow even more full as that same Spirit drew them yet closer to God and transformed them the more into the likeness of Christ, who, as the perfect Man, was perfectly right with God and perfectly sinless, and thus “full of the Holy Ghost” to the highest degree (Luke 4:1).

            Acts 6:3, 5, in a fashion similar to Acts 13:52, connects Spirit-produced spiritual graces with being Spirit filled.[826] The spiritual servant-leaders of the passage, the model for all deacons, are “full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” and “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 6:3, 5, 7:55[827]). They are to follow the pattern of Barnabas, who was “a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith” (Acts 11:24). As with the possession of full spiritual joy, Spirit-wrought faith (Galatians 5:22) and wisdom (Ephesians 1:17; 5:18-19; Colossians 1:9; 3:16; Exodus 31:3) either fill the Christian or not in one sense, but, in another, they are capable of growth and development.

            Spirit filling may be illustrated by containers holding various amounts of water.[828] Unlike a glass full of water, one with only a small amount of water at the bottom, or one that is one-fourth full and is slowly leaking, certainly has water in it, but it is hardly filled with water. Similarly, a backsliding believer has the holy Spirit—for all believers are indwelt by Him (Romans 8:9)—but he is hardly filled with the Spirit. Likewise, all believers love Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 16:22), but a backslider is hardly filled with Spirit-produced love (Galatians 5:22). On the other hand, some water storage vessels designed for camping trips or other similar purposes have the ability not only be filled to the brim but can, like an accordion, expand in their capacity when stretched, so that they have the ability not only be full to one level but, by the continued addition of water, expand to hold even more than they did before. In such a manner believers are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and with the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith that He supernaturally produces within them.[829]

            As God produces, through the Theanthropic Mediator and applied directly by the Holy Spirit, ever greater degrees of Christlikeness in believers who are right with God, they enjoy ever greater degrees of the special presence of the Triune God with them and are thus the more filled with the fulness of the one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Word made flesh, who is Himself “full of grace and truth”[830] (John 1:14), and who thus also receives from God the Father a measureless portion of the Spirit (John 3:34),[831] communicates to those who are united to Him by faith ever fuller measures of the Divine presence and moral attributes (John 1:17), so that they can testify, “of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).[832] It was the Father’s ordination that in the God-Man should “all fulness dwell”; therefore in Christ “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” and He can communicate of His Theanthropic fulness to those united to Him (Colossians 1:19; 2:9-10).[833] The Father grants (Ephesians 3:14) that, by means of the supernatural efficacy of the Spirit (Ephesians 3:16) sent by the ascended Christ (Ephesians 4:10; John 16:7), Christ dwells in an ever greater way in the hearts of those who are in His church (Ephesians 3:17),[834] they gain experiential knowledge of the love of God in Christ, and in this way they are “filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19)[835] by Christ who, anointed King in His mediatorial kingdom,[836] “ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:10).[837] The church, the assembly of immersed believers,[838] is Christ’s “body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23),[839] and the ascended God-Man communicates the Trinitarian Divine fulness to His body (Ephesians 4:15-16) by the Spirit. The ascended Mediator and Head of the church communicates to His body of the Divine fulness and full measure of the Spirit that He possesses, so that, by the Father’s ordination and will and through the incarnate and ascended Son, the saints are filled by the Spirit with the fulness of the Trinity, and thus are also filled with the Spirit Himself (Ephesians 5:18), as the Holy Ghost is Himself true God, in full possession of the undivided Divine essence by virtue of His eternal procession from the Father and the Son. This spiritual union, communion, and participation with God results in the believer’s growing inward and outward holiness; being filled with the fulness of God results in the Christian becoming a holy being filled with holy attributes and “full of good works” (Acts 9:36; cf. Colossians 1:9; 4:12). Such is the glorious fruit of being filled by and with the Holy Spirit.

            The New Testament also associates being filled with and therefore controlled by the Spirit with the Spirit’s giving supernatural enablement for specific tasks, both through miraculous abilities in the first century and supernatural enablements for the entirety of the dispensation of grace, although the employment of a different Greek verb[840] for this sort of supernatural endowment sets this type of Spirit filling apart from that of Ephesians 5:18 and the texts in Acts discussed above. Ordained to be a prophet, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15) for the work of his prophetic ministry. The Spirit filled Elizabeth (Luke 1:41) and Zecharias (Luke 1:67) in association with their giving forth inspired prophecy, and after Christ baptized the church with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, her members were filled with the Spirit and thus enabled to miraculously speak foreign languages (Acts 2:4). Not only were specifically miraculous abilities given through this type of Spirit filling, but the Spirit filled and thus supernaturally empowered non-miraculous Christian work by believers who were right with God. Thus, believers were filled with the Spirit to boldy preach the gospel (Acts 4:8), the entire congregation at Jerusalem was supernaturally empowered to be preaching the Word with boldness because of Spirit filling for that purpose (Acts 4:31), and Paul was filled with the Spirit (Acts 9:17) in connection with Christ’s ministerial call to him to boldly preach the gospel to many nations as the Apostle to the Gentiles (9:15-16). Miraculous and non-miraculous supernatural filling could also be connected, as the Spirit-filled Paul both to non-miraculously rebuke and preach with boldness, and also to miraculously prophesy (Acts 13:9-12).

            The connection of Spirit filling with supernatural ability to perform specific tasks stands in direct continuity with the Old Testament doctrine of Spirit filling.[841] God “filled” Bezaleel and those helping him “with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” so that they could complete the Divinely ordained task of building the tabernacle and all the rest of the “service of the sanctuary” (Exodus 31:1-6; 36:1-2). Both builders and those designing priestly garments were “filled with the spirit of wisdom” (Exodus 28:3; 35:25-35). Similarly, when Moses consecrated Joshua as the new leader of the children of Israel, “Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses” (Deuteronomy 34:9).[842]

            In conclusion, the New Testament does indeed command believers to be “filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians 5:18. Rather than being filled with and consequently controlled by wine, believers are to totally abstain from alcohol, which inherently contains within it the quality of riotousness, and instead be filled with the Spirit, which results in His Divine control in the believer’s life. In continuity with examples in the Old Testament, New Testament examples indicate that there is a type of Spirit filling that provides supernatural enablement for specific tasks, most notably, for the course of the church age after the cessation of miraculous gifts, ability to boldly preach the Word and gospel of God. Believers appropriately look to the Lord for such repeated fillings and consequent enablement as they seek to advance the work of Christ’s kingdom. However, Ephesians 5:18 speaks specifically not of the Spirit’s enablement for specific tasks, but of believers being continuously filled in an ever greater measure with the Holy Spirit. The backslidden believer is not filled with the Spirit any more than he is filled with Spirit-produced joy, faith, love, or other graces, while every surrendered believer, all Christians who are right with God, are filled with the Spirit, and, as they draw ever closer and are transformed ever the more into the image of God, can expect to be ever the more abundantly filled with and consequently controlled by that Holy Ghost who Himself possesses, with the Father and the Son, the very undivided fulness of the Triune God.

            Being filled with the Spirit is essential for obedience in the Christian life of the sort explained in Ephesians 5:19-6:9.[843] Edifying speaking and singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (5:19), giving thanks (5:20),[844] and the mutual submission and obedience to family and social roles (5:20, 5:21-6:9) are based on being filled with the Spirit. Husbands, wives, children, parents, employers, and employees must be filled with the Spirit to properly fulfill their roles. Furthermore, the Spirit filled believer will also “let the word of Christ dwell in [him] richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). Scripture dwelling richly in the believer will also bring him the rich presence of the indwelling Spirit (Romans 8:11; 2 Timothy 1:14) and whole Trinity (2 Corinthians 6:16),[845] for the rich dwelling of the Spirit in the Christian is being filled with the Spirit, and the rich dwelling of the Trinity in the believer is being filled with the fulness of God.

            The necessity of being filled with the Spirit is part of historic Baptist doctrine and practice. Describing the pre-Reformation Baptist group, the Paterines, Jarrel wrote: “In the midst of a people thus professing to be filled with the spirit, and whose pope was the Holy Ghost himself, none of the existing officers of the [Roman Catholic] church could exercise any of their hierarchal prerogatives.”[846] After the Reformation, in 1653, the Baptist church in Leith, England, wrote to the Baptist church at Hexham, “Dearly beloved Brethren, — We salute you in our Lord Jesus Christ, wishing grace, mercy, and peace may be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of the Father, that you may have the full communications of grace and of the love of God shed abroad in your hearts, being filled with the Spirit of truth; and may grow up in all things into him who is your head, and may approve yourselves to be persons making it your great study to honour God in your generations; that so you may be [the occasion] of joy unto all God’s people, and may indeed appear to be trees of righteousness of the Lord’s own planting.” The letter was written because the Leith church was “refreshed to hear of that eminent work of God that hath sprung up amongst you in these parts, in that he has pleased to add unto his church daily such as shall be saved.”[847] The great American Baptist pastor John Leland connected “Christian piety” and being “filled with the spirit.”[848] G. W. Joiner, who pastored a variety of American Baptist churches in the mid to late 19th century, considered it his “great joy” to be “filled with the Spirit.”[849] In the same time period, the Baptist “Dr. Webb . . . [b]eing filled with the Spirit . . . preached with much power.”[850] B. H. Carroll, Baptist pastor, professor of theology and Bible at Baylor University and Seminary from 1872-1905 and professor and president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1908-1914, wrote: “[In Ephesians] 5:18 . . . [t]here are two kinds of intoxication, one of wine and one of the Holy Spirit. I have seen people under the intoxication of the Spirit. . . . Whenever we want to be stimulated, we should go off and pray. As we are infilled with the Spirit, we become enthusiastic; a divine afflatus rests upon us, enabling us to think thoughts that breathe, to speak words that burn and to sing songs that have more convincing power than the sermon. That is spiritual intoxication.”[851] Modern Baptists should follow the godly example of their forefathers and continue to preach and experience the glorious truth of Spirit filling today.

            The command, “be filled with the Spirit,” and the fact that God deigns to fill His people with the Spirit, should drastically change your life. Be amazed, oh heavens, and be awestruck, oh earth—the infinite God—the high and holy One who inhabits eternity—wishes for men to partake of Himself! He blesses His people with all spiritual blessings now, works all things together for their good, and guarantees them the infinite happiness of an eternity with Him, and He wills that they know His special presence even while, sinners though they are, they walk upon this fallen and rebellious earth. Indeed, He not only makes His fulness available to them, but positively enjoins them to be full of His presence, to be filled with His Spirit and the fulness of God. Who would refuse this? What awful evil it is to not be filled with the Spirit! Is it not immeasurable ingratitude, stubbornness, pride, rebellion, and wickedness to refuse to be filled with the Spirit? Is it not to exalt one’s self and own way against God, and by preferring self and sin to God and His presence, an act of the most awful idolatry and creature worship? What crimes are these that you have committed, oh Christian, by your refusal, so often, to be filled with the Spirit? And how great is your sin of not pursuing an ever greater fulness of the Spirit and the Triune God! Why are you not much further along than you are now? Why is your communion with Him and knowledge of His presence so miserably feeble? Will you not, in tears, greatly humble yourself and seek to be filled with the Spirit? For—despite all your crimes—your Triune God yet loves you with an infinite and unchangeable love, and still offers and bids you to be filled with the Spirit and the fulness of God. His provision has not been taken away, but is provided for you still.

            You should diligently search your heart and be sure that you are right with God, so that you can enjoy the wonderful provision of being filled with the Spirit, as commanded in Ephesians 5:18. Since Spirit filling results in Spirit control, you should also detest and flee from alcohol and any and every other thing that would displace the control of the Lord the Spirit from mind-controlling video media, to worldly and fleshly contemporary “Christian” music, to the false spirits and false, mindless, fanatical, Spirit-quenching worship associated with Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement. Do you want the Spirit of God, or the spirits of devils? Be filled with the Spirit, and reject with horror such productions of evil spirits. Do not be decived by whatever high talk of the Spirit such pseudo-Christianity employs. Do not let anything contest the control of the Holy Spirit over your life. You must not only abstain from consuming wine yourself, but abstain from selling, commending, or giving it to others (Habakkuk 2:15), and rather warn about its evil nature, as a substance that has within its very nature riotousness and wickedness. Be wise, and understand the will of the Lord. Abstain from beginning the process that leads to drunkeness, and be filled with the Spirit.

            Furthermore, you should trust the Lord for supernatural enablement to boldy preach the gospel and engage in spiritual work in general. Be filled with the Spirit, both as a mark of your Christian life, and also by being empowered for His specific assistance in the advancement of the Kingdom. Will you seek to defeat the world, the flesh, and the devil in your own strength? Pray for boldness, and trust God to give you the special enablement of the Holy Ghost as you open your mouth to pointedly preach the Word, fearing God alone, not man (Acts 4:31). Do not fear persecution and opposition—rather, rejoice if you are counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s name (Acts 5:41). Do not disobey God and fail to boldly confess Christ (Matthew 10:32) because of what appears to be insuperable hardship. Do not those who have stood firm in such trials tell you that they enjoyed the special presence of the Lord with them at that time? Did they not tell you that they experienced the blessed reality of the special guidance of the Holy Ghost (Mark 13:11)? Indeed, if you have endured such tribulations yourself, do you not know by experience how wonderfully true the special presence of the Spirit is? Will you miss such a glorious blessing out of fear of mortal men?

            What is more, let those in particular who are pastors and teachers recognize the absolute necessity of Spirit filling and enablement for their successful ministry. The souls of Christ’s flock, those of countless unconverted people, and the future of the kingdom of God advances or falls as the ministers of Christ either have or lack a Spirit-empowered ministry. The stakes are incomprehensibly high. A pastor who is not Spirit-filled is an awful spiritual disaster. Oh Christian worker, oh man of God, called to preach the Word and the gospel of Christ—will you not, of all men, be filled with the Spirit?

            Furthermore, a pastor who is filled and thus empowered will boldly preach all the truth, emphasizing the specific sins of those in his audience (John 7:26; Acts 2:36-37; 4:1-13; 7:51-55). He will not hold back for pragmatic considerations, or out of the fear of man. He will not tickle ears, but will be able to testify of himself what was true of Christ: “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9-10). The truly Spirit-filled preacher will not conceal or refrain from setting forth one tittle of God’s truth.

            Finally, treasure the church—the congregation of Christ, His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. God has not designed you to be filled with the Spirit and grow in experiencing the special presence of the Trinity on your own (Ephesians 5:19-21). The fulness of Christ’s presence is not experienced by listening to a preacher on T. V. or on the radio, by attending a parachurch Bible study, or by attending the services of a denominational system other than the church Christ started in the first century. No, Christ’s temple—the place where His glory is especially manifested and His presence known—is your local, visible, Bible-believing and practicing Baptist church. Are there some people there who are harder to get along with than others? It is no matter—Jesus is there in a special way. Are the leaders, although admittedly godly and spiritually qualified men (1 Timothy 3), less than perfect? So were the Apostles themselves—fit into the church, and let Christ nourish and strengthen you as Head of His body, the assembly (Ephesians 4:15-17; Colossians 2:19). You have the glorious privilege and command of being filled with the Spirit—fulfill your personal and corporate responsibility, that it might be so.

H. Excursus VI: Is Fallen Man’s Obligation To Obey God

Limited To His Ability To Do So?

            Various perfectionistic theologies of sanctification affirm that man’s obligation to obey God is limited to his ability to do so.[852] They argue that God would not be fair were He to require of man more than he has the ability to perform. Consequently, fallen men have the ability to obey all that God requires of them. This plenary ability to obey is often ascribed to both unregnerate and regenerate individuals, but is sometimes limited to the latter by certain of its advocates.

Is it true that God would be unjustly mocking fallen man if He demanded and obliged him to obey beyond his ability? No text in the Bible teaches such a doctrine.[853] The fact that mankind, by its own fault, has sinned in Adam and has a sinful nature, and is thus unable on earth to meet the Divine standard of perfect holiness required by God, illustrates and aggravates human fault rather than providing any ground to ascribe fault to the Holy One, the just Judge of all the earth.[854] The idea that human obligation is limited to ability is clearly unscriptural. Were this idea true, Pelagianism would necessarily follow—lost men would, contrary to the affirmations of Scripture (John 6:44, 65), not be enslaved to sin but have the ability to turn to God of themselves. The fact that the unregenerate can commit the unpardonable sin, that is, resist the Holy Spirit to the point that He will no longer draw them to Christ, so that it becomes thenceforth “impossible to renew them again unto repentance” (Hebrews 6:4-6; John 12:32; Matthew 12:31-32) would have to be removed from the realm of Biblical doctrine. Since God’s standard is absolute sinless perfection (Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-16), both the unregenerate and the regenerate would have the ability to instantly become, at any given moment, literally sinless in their nature, words, thoughts, and acts. The fact that the saints are commanded universally to pray for the forgiveness of their sins (Matthew 6:12-13), that if anyone affirms that he has no sin he is deceived and not of the truth (1 John 1:8-10),[855] that “there is no man that sinneth not” (1 Kings 8:46),[856] including every one of the people of God on earth, and vast numbers of other Biblical declarations, including the commands a believer obeys partially but not completely (cf. Colossians 3:16),[857] would have to be ignored or twisted.[858]

            The Baptist professor and college president Alvah Hovey[859] commented on the idea that the obligation of sinful man is limited to his ability as follows:

[M]oral weakness does not reduce moral obligation. If it did, Satan would be under almost infinitely less obligation to love God than Gabriel, and, the farther any being advanced in sin, the less of service would be due from him to his Maker. The law, as a standard of right and duty, has not been modified by the work of Christ: it has rather been honored and sustained. The theory of one law for angels, another for Adam before the fall, and still another for believers in Christ, is without any foundation in the Word of God. It is impossible to doubt that the law for all moral beings, in all worlds, is one and the same. To love God with all the spiritual ardor and energy of their undivided being is their simple duty. . . . Do any Christians live without sin in this world? All are commanded to do so by an authority inseparable from their moral being[.] . . . This voice forbids every feeling, purpose, and act that is wrong, and enjoins perfect and perpetual rectitude in heart, as well as in life. . . . [T]he law of God, as set forth in the Bible, require[s] of all a life without sin. . . .

Of what use are precepts and exhortations, it is asked, if Christians are never to comply with them? [The perfectionist argues that] [t]he law was given to Christians to be obeyed, and it is surely safe to conclude that it will be obeyed by some in this life.[860] . . . To this it must be answered that it is manifestly unsafe to infer the moral perfection of even a few Christians from the circumstance that all are commanded or exhorted to be perfect. It would be quite as logical to assume that all Christians obey the law completely from the hour of their conversion, as to assume that some obey it thus for a month or a year.   But the premise warrants neither conclusion. If a moral law be given by the Most High, it must naturally be a perfect rule of right, whether it be kept by many or by none. Nor can it be pronounced useless, though it be kept by none, It may be of great service because it reveals the right, or what Christians ought to be and to do, and because it shows to those who are saved by Christ the degree of sin in their hearts and lives, together with the wonderous grace of God to his wayward children. . . . [Nor is it valid when it is] suggested that, if none of them are sanctified fully before the hour of death, it must be because God is either unable or unwilling thus to sanctify them . . . [in light of the fact that 1 Thessalonians 4:3 states,] “This is the will of God, your sanctification.”[861] . . . [For] are we not assured by the same apostle that it is the will of God that “all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4)? And would it not be hasty reasoning to conclude from this language that all men will be saved? Besides, it may be truly said, that God wishes not only that some Christians, but that all Christians, and indeed all moral beings in the universe, should be wholly free from sin, from this instant onward through eternal ages; nay, that he has always wished this in respect to all such beings; but we do not therefore conclude that there will be no more sin, or that there never has been sin. . . . [Texts such as 1 Thessalonians 4:3] se[t] forth what Christians ought to do in obedience to the will of God, not what he proposes to do in their hearts [at some instant in this life]. Yet in doing this they have the gift and aid of the Holy Spirit.”[862]

Likewise, B. B. Warfield explained the necessary consequences of the doctrine that human moral obligation is limited to his fallen ability:

To be perfect, [according to the doctrine that obligation is limited to ability, a sinner] does not [need] to love as God loves — in whose love all righteousness is embraced — or as the angels love, or as Adam loved, or even as any better man than he loves. He only requires to love as he himself, being what he is, and in the condition in which he finds himself, can love. If he loves all he can love in his present condition, he is perfect. No matter how he came into his present condition; suppose if you will that he came into it by a long course of vice, or by some supreme act of vice, it makes no difference. His obligation is limited by his ability; we cannot say, he ought to do more than he can do; if he does all he can do, he has no further obligation, he is perfect. The moral idiot . . . is as perfect as God is: being a moral idiot, he has no moral obligation; when he has done nothing at all he has done all that he ought to do: he is perfect. God Himself cannot do more than all He ought to do; and when He has done all He ought to do, He is no more perfect than the moral idiot is—although what He has done is to fulfil all that is ideally righteous and the moral idiot has done nothing.

In this conception the law of God, complete obedience to which is perfection, is made a sliding scale. It is not that perfect rule, which as the Greeks say, like a straight-edge, straight itself, measures both the straight and the crooked; but a flexible line which follows the inequalities of the surface on which it is laid, not molding it, but molded by it. Obligation here is interpreted in terms of ability with the result that each man becomes a law to himself, creating his own law; while the objective law of God, the standard of holiness in all, is annulled, and there are as many laws, as many standards of holiness, as there are moral beings. . . . There is no such thing as a universal obligation of the law . . . or indeed as a universal law, binding on all alike, to create a universal obligation. Each man’s obligation is exhausted in the law which his own ability creates for him; . . . the requirements of the law [being reduced] to the moral capacity of sinful men, [and] adjust[ed] in detail [down] to the moral capacity of each individual sinner . . . has the effect of making our sin the excuse for our sin, until we may cease to be sinners altogether by simply becoming sinful enough. . . . [T]he acquisition of unconquerable habits of evil, by progressively destroying obligation, renders perfection ever easier of acquisition by constantly reducing the content of the perfection to be acquired; and [thus] one of the surest roads to salvation [and perfection] is therefore to become incurably wicked.[863]

Similarly, William G. T. Shedd wrote:

The foundation of man’s obligation to perfectly obey the Divine law, was the holiness and plenary power to good with which he was endowed by his Creator. Because God made man in his own image, he was obliged to sinless obedience. Moral obligation rested upon the union and combination of the so-called “natural ability” with the “moral.” It did not rest upon the first alone. Not a will without any inclination, but a will with a holy inclination, was the basis of the requirement of sinless obedience. The possession of a will undetermined would not constitute man a moral agent. God did not make man without moral character, and then require perfect obedience from him. When man was created and placed under law, he was endowed not only with the faculties of a man, but with those faculties in a normal condition. The understanding was spiritually enlightened, and the will was rightly inclined. He had both “natural” and “moral” ability. He had real and plenary power to obey the law of God. In the beginning of man’s moral existence, ability must equal obligation. And the ability did equal it. Kant’s dictum: “I ought, therefore I can,” was true of holy Adam and his posterity in him. If at the instant man came from the hand of God he had been unable to obey, he would not have been obligated to obey.

“The law was not above man’s strength when he was possessed of original righteousness, though it be above man’s strength since he was stripped of original righteousness. The command was dated before man had contracted his impotency, when he had a power to keep it, as well as to break it. Had it been enjoined to man only after the fall, and not before, he might have had a better pretence to excuse himself, because of the impossibility of it; yet he would not have had sufficient excuse, since the impossibility did not result from the nature of the law, but from the corrupted nature of the creature. It ‘was weak through the flesh’ (Romans 8:3), but it was promulged when man had a strength proportioned to the commands of it.” (Charnock: The Holiness of God.)

Obligation being thus founded upon the Creator’s gifts, cannot be destroyed by any subsequent action of the creature. If he destroys his ability, he does not destroy his obligation. If man by his own voluntary action loses any or all of the talents entrusted to him, he cannot assign this loss as a reason why any or all the talents, together with usury, should not be demanded of him in the final settlement. [Note] Christ’s parable of the talents. . . . Does not God, then, wrong man by requiring of him in his law that which he cannot perform? . . . No; for God so made man that he could perform it; but man through the instigation of the devil, by wilful disobedience deprived himself and all his posterity of this power.

1.) It is objected, that if man is unable to keep the law, he is not obligated to keep it. This depends upon the nature of the inability, and its cause. If man were destitute of reason, conscience, will, or any of the faculties of a moral being, he would not be obligated. If he were internally wrought upon by an almighty being, and prevented from obeying, he would not be obligated. If he were prevented by any external compulsion, he would not be obligated. If he had been created sinful, he would not be obligated. If he had been created indifferent either to holiness or sin, he would not have been obligated. None of these conditions obtain in the case of man. He was created holy, with plenary power to keep perfectly the moral law, and therefore was obligated to keep it. At the point of creation, ability and obligation were equal. But if after creation in holiness and plenary power, any alteration be made in the original ratio between ability and obligation by the creature’s voluntary agency, this cannot alter the original obligation. If ability is weakened by an act of self-determination, obligation is not weakened. If ability is totally destroyed by self-determination, obligation is not destroyed. The latter is the fact in the case. There is a total inability, but it is not an original or created inability. It came to be by man’s act, not by God’s. “Man’s inability to restore what he owes to God, an inability brought upon himself, does not excuse man from paying the satisfaction due to justice; for the result of sin cannot excuse the sin itself.” (Anselm: Cur deus homo, I. xxiv.)

The principle, that if a moral power once possessed is lost by the voluntary action of the possessor he is not thereby released from the original duty that rested upon it, is acknowledged by writers upon ethics. Aristotle (Ethics, III. v.) remarks that it is just in legislators[:]

to punish people even for ignorance itself, if they are the cause of their own ignorance; just as the punishment is double for drunken people. For the cause is in themselves; since it was in their own power not to get drunk, and drunkenness is the cause of their ignorance. And they punish those who are ignorant of anything in the laws which they ought to know, and which it is not difficult to know; and likewise in all other cases in which they are ignorant through negligence; upon the ground that it was in their own power to pay attention to it. But perhaps a person is unable to give his attention? But he himself is the cause of this inability, by living in a dissipated manner. Persons are themselves the causes of their being unrighteous, by performing bad actions; and of being intemperate, by passing their time in drunken revels and such-like. When a man does those acts by which he becomes unjust, he becomes unjust voluntarily [that is by the action of his own will]. Nevertheless, he will not be able to leave off being unjust and to become just, whenever he pleases. For the sick man cannot become well whenever he pleases, even though it so happen that he is voluntarily sick owing to an incontinent life, and from disobedience to physicians. At the time indeed, it was in his own power not to be sick; but when he has once allowed himself to become sick, it is no longer in his power not to be sick; just as it is no longer in the power of a man who has thrown a stone to recover it. And yet the throwing of it was in his own power; for the origin of the action was in his own power. In like manner, in the beginning it was in the power of the unjust and the intemperate man not to become unjust and intemperate; and therefore they are so voluntarily. But when they have become so, it is no longer in their power to avoid being unjust and intemperate… And not only are the faults of the soul voluntary, but in some persons those of the body are so likewise, and with these we find fault. For no one finds fault with those who are disfigured and ugly by birth; but only with those who are so through neglect of gymnastic exercise, or through carelessness. The case is the same with bodily weakness and mutilation. For no one would blame a man who is born blind, or who is blind from disease or a blow; but would rather pity him. But everybody would blame the man who is blind from drunkenness, or any intemperance. For those faults of the body which are incur[red] [by our] own power originally, and which result from our own action, we are blamable.” . . .

In secular commercial life, the loss of ability does not release from obligation. A man is as much a debtor to his creditors after his bankruptcy, as he was before. The loss of his property does not free him from indebtedness. He cannot say to his creditor, “I owed you yesterday, because I was able to pay you, but to-day I owe you nothing, because I am a bankrupt.” It is a legal maxim, that bankruptcy does not invalidate contracts.

That obligation remains fixed and immutable under all the modifications of ability introduced by the action of the human will, is proved by the case of the drunkard, and the habit which he has formed. The drunkard is certainly less able to obey the law of temperance than the temperate man is. But this law has precisely the same claim upon him that it has upon the temperate. The diminution of ability has not diminished the obligation. If obligation must always keep pace with the changes in the ability, then there are degrees of obligation. The stronger the will is, the more it is obliged; the weaker it is, the less is it bound by law. In this case, sin rewards the sinner by delivering him from the claims of law. The most vicious man would be least under obligation to duty.[864]

Both the unregenerate and the regenerate are obligated to be as holy as God Himself, and no unconverted person, neither any believer before his glorification, will meet this Divine standard of absolute perfection. The idea that the sinner’s obligation to God is limited to his ability is entirely contrary to Scripture.

I. Excursus VII: Are All Believers Disciples?

            Some affirm that only certain believers are disciples. Discipleship is said to be a status that certain believers chose to enter into at some point after their conversion, so that, within the larger class of believers, a smaller, elite group of believers are disciples.[865] Others affirm that, while there are such things as false believers (cf. John 2:23-3:3; 12:42; Acts 8:13) and false disciples (John 6:60, 66; 12:4),[866] and neither all believers nor all disciples are equally spiritually strong (cf. Acts 14:22; 18:23), the Bible nevertheless equates the categories of believer and disciple, so that all saved people, all believers, are disciples. This second position is the one taught in Scripture.

            The Greek noun translated disciple appears 269 times in 253 verses in the New Testament,[867] while related words that shed further light on the nature of a disciple appear a number of additional times.[868] Generally, a disciple is a learner (Mark 9:31; Luke 11:1)[869] or follower, and a disciple of Christ is one who follows the Lord Jesus and follows or keeps His commandments (cf. Matthew 21:6; 26:19).[870] Scripture thus repeatedly records that Christ’s “disciples follow him” (Mark 6:1; Matthew 8:23; Luke 22:39; John 18:15; 21:20). While, as is expected, not all of the 269 references to disciples specifically define the word, very strong exegetical evidence from many passages establish that one becomes a true disciple of Christ at the same moment that one becomes a true believer, so that discipleship begins at regeneration, and all the people of God, not some elite minority, are identified as disciples in Scripture. No verse in Scripture teaches that believers become disciples at a post-conversion crisis or that only some of the regenerate are disciples. Rather, it was the “disciples [who] were called Christians” (Acts 11:26). Disciples are Christians, and Christians are disciples.[871]

            Disciples are not an elite order of especially consecrated believers because disciples are too often sadly lacking in consecration. Disciples can be chastened as those of “little faith” (Matthew 8:23-27) and can fail to have the kind of faith that is associated with God’s powerful working (Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:18-19). They can act in pride (Mark 9:31-34). They can require Christ’s correction (Matthew 19:13-14; 26:8-10) and rebuke (Luke 9:54-55), because they make Him “much displeased” (Mark 10:13-14). Disciples can fear to boldly confess Christ (John 19:38) although their faith does not stay perpetually hidden (19:39-40). Disciples can sleep instead of pray, give in to temptation and fear, and fail to unflinchingly stand for Christ (Matthew 26:40, 45, 56; Luke 22:45-46; John 18:15-27), although their faith does not fail and their repentant return to their Redeemer is as certain as are the answers to Christ’s prayers for His own as High Priest (Luke 22:32) since Christ powerfully works in them through His Word to bring them back to Himself when they sin (22:60-62). Disciples can fail to grasp spiritual truth as they ought (Mark 7:18-19; 8:16-21; 9:32; John 4:31-35; 9:2-3; 11:11-13; 12:16) and even fail to pursue understanding as they ought when they fail to grasp it (Luke 9:45). While disciples—since they are believers and are therefore the recipients of a new heart—are going to be different from the unregenerate, they are not an elite subcategory of especially consecrated Christian. No text indicates that a special post-coversion act of consecration makes a believer into the higher category of disciple, nor that a certain amount of sin makes a disciple lose his status and return to a lower subcategory of believer. Rather, all believers, with both their Spirit-wrought change and their remaining indwelling sin, are identified as disciples.

Furthermore, disciples are never distinguished from the regenerate who are at a lower plane, but are regularly distinguished from hell-bound lost people. Disciples are contrasted with publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17) from perishing multitudes (Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 19:36-38) and from the persecuting ungodly, (Matthew 10:22-27). Disciples are those who have been given spiritual truth and enter the kingdom of heaven, in contrast with the lost, who do not do so (Matthew 13:10-12; Mark 4:33-34; Luke 8:9-11). Disciples will feast with Christ in the consummation (Mark 2:18-19). Disciples inherit the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20) and their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20-24). Disciples are Christ’s spiritual brethren (Matthew 12:49-50; 28:7-10) and those who recognize Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 16:14-16, 20). Disciples are Christ’s little ones (Matthew 10:42); His little children (John 13:33) who cannot come into condemnation (13:33) are disciples (13:35), believers (14:1) who will have heavenly mansions (14:2-3) with the Lord Jesus. Disciples are those who bear fruit (John 15:8) and consequently are not burned eternally in the fires of hell (15:6). Disciples (John 16:7) are believers (John 16:27) and are therefore those who are promised the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 16:7-17; 14:16-18; cf. 20:19-22). Christian “brethren” are “disciples” (Acts 6:1-3; 9:17, 26-30; 14:28-15:1). Disciples are those who are not unsaved, but are “obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). When Paul preached the gospel message that “by [Christ] all that believe are justified from all things, from which [they] could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39), those who “believed” received “eternal life” (13:48) and thus became “disciples” (13:50; cf. 14:1, 21-23). People who have had God “purif[y] their hearts by faith . . . disciples . . . through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . shall be saved” (15:9-11). When people heard the gospel, they either became “disciples” or they rejected the Savior and “believed not” (Acts 19:9). Disciples (Acts 9:1) are those who are of the Christian “way” (9:2). Saul received a commission to persecute Christ’s disciples (9:1-2), and he consequently persecuted all believers, all who “call on [Christ’s] name” (9:14; cf. 9:19, 21, 25-27). Scripture clearly and regularly equates the categories of believer and disciple, promises those who are in these categories the same eternal felicity, and warns of eternal damnation for all who do not become disciples or believers.

The act of making disciples is expressed with the Greek verb matheteuo.[872] Making disciples (Matthew 28:19) takes place by preaching the gospel and having people come to repent (Luke 24:47) and believe (Mark 16:15-16), and thus receive the remission of sins (Luke 24:47; Mark 16:16; John 20:23), after which the believers or disciples should be baptized (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16). The response to the preaching of the gospel is people becoming disciples by the new birth (Acts 14:21), for one is discipled “unto the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:52). As with the noun mathetes, the verb matheteuo indicates that one becomes a disciple by becoming a believer.[873] No text teaches or implies that disciples are an elite subcategory within a larger group of Christians.

            John 8:30-32 indicates that disciples are those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. The discourse of John 8 takes place in the Jerusalem temple (v. 2, 20, 59), where Christ debates and refutes the Pharisees in front of a watching audience. In 8:12-13 Christ addresses “the Pharisees” and they reply. He then responds in v. 14-18, they answer Him in v. 19, and He responds in v. 19, making it clear that they are lost in their sins (v. 19). This interaction between the Pharisees and the Lord continues in v. 20-29. Although now called “the Jews” (v. 22), Christ still debates the same Pharisaic opponents, for v. 21 (“then said Jesus again unto them”) indicates He still speaks to the Pharisees of v. 13. Verse 24 (“therefore”) also shows the interaction continues through v. 29. It is very apparent that these Pharisees are lost (v. 21, 23, 24); indeed, they will be responsible for Christ’s crucifixion (v. 28). As the Lord preaches to and answers the Pharisees, many of those listening to His public disputation with them savingly believe on Him (v. 30-32).[874] The Lord then tells those who have now believed on Him that their initial justifying faith will evidence itself in perseverance (v. 31-32). In v. 33, the Pharisees (“they,” as in v. 27) challenge Christ’s address to His new disciples. The speakers in v. 33 are not the new converts—their words are nowhere recorded in the chapter—rather, the public disputation with the Pharisees found in the rest of John eight is continued from v. 33 through the end of the chapter. Thus, John chapter eight records a conversation between Christ and the Pharisees with others looking on and listening in. Some of the onlookers believed on the Savior and received His exhortation in v. 30-32, the only break in the dialogue, and one which occurs without a record of the response of those addressed. Christ said to those who had “believed,” “ye . . . are my disciples” (John 8:31). The identification of the categories believer and disciple is explicit.[875] The specification that those the Lord Jesus addressed would evidence their status as true converts[876] by perseverance[877] does not undermine the His identification of believers as disciples. Christ does not say that those who believe would “become” disciples by continuing in His Word, but that those who “are” currently disciples because they have truly believed will evidence their regeneration by perseverance—they “are” saved people “if” they continue.[878] The “if . . . then” clause is an evidence/inference construction, so “the relation the protasis[879] [has] to the apodosis[880] is that of ground, or evidence . . . for example, ‘If she has a ring on her left hand, then she’s married.’ Notice that the protasis is not the cause of the apodosis. In fact, it is often just the opposite.”[881] Those who had become the Lord’s disciples at the moment they believed in Christ would persevere; if someone did not do so, he never was a true convert.[882]

Mark 8:34-38[883] teaches that one who does not become a disciple of Christ will be eternally damned. In v. 34,[884] denial of self and taking up the cross is a representation of the sinner’s coming to the point of saving repentance, with a resultant lifestyle of continued following of Christ.[885] As already indicated above, Christ’s call to sinners to “follow me” (v. 34) was a call to discipleship, since the Lord’s “disciples follow him” (Mark 6:1; Matthew 8:23; Luke 22:39; John 18:15; 21:20).[886] One who was bearing a cross in the land of Israel in Christ’s day was on his way to the shameful and extremely painful death of crucifixion (John 19:17); thus, repentant faith in Christ involved losing one’s life, that is, turning from his own way of living, exaltation of self and comfort, to surrender to Christ as unconditional Lord (Mark 8:35). The person who wishes to continue to live his own way, to “save his life,” will eternally lose “both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28, 39),[887] while one who turns from his own way, denying himself, taking up the cross, and losing his own life for the sake of Christ and the gospel, will save his life or soul (pseuche) by receiving eternal life. “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12:25). To encourage the lost to give up their own way and surrender to Christ’s Lordship for salvation, Christ reminds them that it profits them nothing if they would gain the whole world, but lose their souls (Mark 8:36-37). Those who, rather than being ashamed of their sins (Romans 6:21; contrast Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:8, 12, 16) are ashamed to follow Christ and His Words in the evil and adulterous world will have Christ be ashamed of them at His return and be damned—for Christ is “not ashamed to call [true believers] brethren” (Hebrews 2:11), and “God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16; Luke 9:26). No text in Scripture indicates that God will be “ashamed” of His people—He is not ashamed of them (Hebrews 11:16). Mark 8:34-38 clearly teaches that all saved people are disciples, and that one who refuses to become Christ’s disciple will face an eternity in hell.

            Mark 10:13-31 exemplifies the teaching of Mark 8:34-38. Christ told a man who wanted to “inherit eternal life” (10:17) to “take up the cross, and follow” Him (10:21). He refused to do so, because he was unwilling to forsake his riches, and so he did not inherit the kingdom of God (10:22-24). Indeed, the Lord Jesus taught that fallen man’s attachment to sin is so strong that nobody will come to repentance and be saved apart from God’s supernatural working (10:25-27). Those who do leave all to forsake all to follow Christ (10:28-29) become God’s “children” (10:24) and will “receive . . . in the world to come eternal life” (10:30), having come to Christ as Lord and Savior with the faith of a little child (10:13-16). Matthew 19:16-30 supplements the record in Mark, indicating “eternal life” (19:16) is promised to those who “come and follow” Christ (19:21). Those who forsake all “inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). Similarly, in Luke 14:15-35, Christ teaches that “whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath” (14:33, 26) to “bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (14:27, 33);   those who refuse to put Christ before property (14:18-19) and people (14:20, 26) will not “eat bread in the kingdom of God” (14:15), but be “cast out” (14:35) of the eschatological feast of the saints (14:24) into hell,[888] while God rejoices over the repentance and salvation of those who become disciples in the way people rejoice over the recovery of a lost sheep, coin, or son (Luke 15). Parallel passages confirm the plain teaching of Mark 8:34-38—disciples get eternal life, and those who do not become disciples are damned. This fact requires the identification of believers and disciples as a single class, the people of God.

            Scripture is clear that all believers are disciples. The notion that, after regeneration, a smaller, elite group of believers choose to become disciples is entirely absent from Scripture. Disciples are regularly contrasted with the unregenerate, but never with an underclass of truly saved people who have not yet become disciples. When disciples sin or backslide, they are never said to lose their status as disciples and return to a supposed larger unconsecrated Christian underclass. The usage of the noun and verb forms for disciple make the equation of believers and disciples exceedingly plain. Indeed, the terms Christian and disciple are explicitly equated (Acts 11:26). Numerous passages of Scripture teach and affirm the truth that one becomes a disciple at the moment of saving faith, and that those who do not become disciples are unbelievers who will be damned. If only some Christians are disciples, then only some Christians get eternal life and escape hell, are adopted into the family of God, enter the kingdom of God, have faith in Christ, and have a new nature—in short, if only some Christians are disciples, only some Christians are Christians. The Bible is clear—a believer is a disciple, and a disciple is a believer.

Excursus VIII: What Does It Mean To Abide in Christ?

A Study of Meno, “To Abide,” in the New Testament,[889] for the purpose of ascertaining its sense in John 15, and seeing what it means to abide in Christ. The vine pericope in John 15 is examined at the conclusion of the study, after the 120 uses of meno in the NT have been cataloged and commented upon. The OT background to the vine image is also examined.

Mt 10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

ei˙ß h§n d∆ a·n po/lin h£ kw¿mhn ei˙se÷lqhte, e˙xeta¿sate ti÷ß e˙n aujthØv a‡xio/ß e˙stin: kaÓkei√ mei÷nate, eºwß a·n e˙xe÷lqhte.

Here the sense is “stay,” or “dwell” there. This is consistent with a sense of “endure” or “remain” for meno in John 15.

Mt 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

kai« su/, Kapernaou/m, hJ eºwß touv oujranouv uJywqei√sa, eºwß aˆ‚dou katabibasqh/shØ: o¢ti ei˙ e˙n Sodo/moiß e˙ge÷nonto ai˚ duna¿meiß ai˚ geno/menai e˙n soi÷, e¶meinen a·n me÷cri thvß sh/meron.

Here the sense of “stay” or “endure” is very possible.

Mt 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

to/te le÷gei aujtoi√ß, Peri÷lupo/ß e˙stin hJ yuch/ mou eºwß qana¿tou: mei÷nate w—de kai« grhgorei√te met∆ e˙mouv.

Here “remain/stay” is the sense as well. Consider that this text contains an identical imperative to that in John 15. The disciples were to stay there, while, v. 39, Christ went away from them a little farther. The word, of itself, does not indicate that fellowship with Him is involved in remaining/abiding/staying. Certainly the necessity of fellowship with Christ is taught in many passages of Scripture, but if “abide” in John 15 possesses the same sense as “tarry ye” here, why cannot it be a command of Christian perseverance rather than a command for fellowship? Note that the Lord rebuked them for not “watching” (v. 40ff.) but not for not “tarrying” with Him, for they did stay there instead of going somewhere else, although they certainly had no sort of living fellowship with the Lord, for they were asleep.

Mr 6:10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.

kai« e¶legen aujtoi√ß, ›Opou e˙a»n ei˙se÷lqhte ei˙ß oi˙ki÷an, e˙kei√ me÷nete eºwß a·n e˙xe÷lqhte e˙kei√qen.

Here “remain/stay” in the sense of “dwell” is the idea. This use also is not one of living fellowship; one does not have fellowship with a house.

Mr 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

kai« le÷gei aujtoi√ß, Peri÷lupo/ß e˙stin hJ yuch/ mou eºwß qana¿tou: mei÷nate w—de kai« grhgorei√te.

See the note on Mt 26:38.

Lu 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

⁄Emeine de« Maria»m su\n aujthØv wJsei« mhvnaß trei√ß, kai« uJpe÷streyen ei˙ß to\n oi•kon aujthvß.

Mary remained/stayed/lived in Elizabeth’s house. Certainly Mary and Elizabeth had good fellowship, but they were both abiding in Elizabeth’s house, not abiding in one another. Note the last part of the verse.

Lu 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

e˙xelqo/nti de« aujtwˆ◊ e˙pi« th\n ghvn, uJph/nthsen aujtwˆ◊ aÓnh/r tiß e˙k thvß po/lewß, o§ß ei•ce daimo/nia e˙k cro/nwn i˚kanw◊n, kai« i˚ma¿tion oujk e˙nedidu/sketo, kai« e˙n oi˙ki÷aˆ oujk e¶menen, aÓll∆ e˙n toi√ß mnh/masin,

The man stayed/remained in the tombs, rather than in houses. No fellowship aspect appears in this usage either.

Lu 9:4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.

kai« ei˙ß h§n a·n oi˙ki÷an ei˙se÷lqhte, e˙kei√ me÷nete, kai« e˙kei√qen e˙xe÷rcesqe.

Here also, the command was to remain/stay in the house. Here, as in many of the previous references, location is in view.

Lu 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

e˙n aujthØv de« thØv oi˙ki÷aˆ me÷nete, e˙sqi÷onteß kai« pi÷nonteß ta» par∆ aujtw◊n: a‡xioß ga»r oJ e˙rga¿thß touv misqouv aujtouv e˙sti. mh\ metabai÷nete e˙x oi˙ki÷aß ei˙ß oi˙ki÷an.

The preachers were to remain/stay in this house while they were in that city, rather than moving from one house to another and exploiting everyone’s hospitality.

Lu 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

kai« wJß h™lqen e˙pi« to\n to/pon, aÓnable÷yaß oJ ∆Ihsouvß ei•den aujto/n, kai« ei•pe pro/ß aujto/n, Zakcai√e, speu/saß kata¿bhqi: sh/meron ga»r e˙n twˆ◊ oi¶kwˆ sou dei√ me mei√nai.

The Lord Jesus was going to remain/stay in Zacchaeus’ house. The Savior would be his guest that day. Certainly fellowship would go on, but this fact is not required by the word itself.

Lu 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

kai« parebia¿santo aujto/n, le÷gonteß, Mei√non meq∆ hJmw◊n, o¢ti pro\ß e˚spe÷ran e˙sti÷, kai« ke÷kliken hJ hJme÷ra. kai« ei˙shvlqe touv mei√nai su\n aujtoi√ß.

Both the command and the fulfillment are to remain/stay with someone, to continue in his physical presence.

Joh 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

kai« e˙martu/rhsen ∆Iwa¿nnhß le÷gwn o¢ti Teqe÷amai to\ Pneuvma katabai√non wJsei« peristera»n e˙x oujranouv, kai« e¶meinen e˙p∆ aujto/n.

Here, and in v. 33, meno indicates a location. In v. 32 the Spirit came to abide on the Lord, and in v. 33 the Holy Ghost continued to remain on the Savior. Both of these designate a location, not fellowship.

Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

kaÓgw» oujk hØ¡dein aujto/n: aÓll∆ oJ pe÷myaß me bapti÷zein e˙n u¢dati, e˙kei√no/ß moi ei•pen, ∆Ef∆ o§n a·n i¶dhØß to\ Pneuvma katabai√non kai« me÷non e˙p∆ aujto/n, ou∞to/ß e˙stin oJ bapti÷zwn e˙n Pneu/mati ÔAgi÷wˆ.

See the comments on John 1:32.

Joh 1:38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

strafei«ß de« oJ ∆Ihsouvß kai« qeasa¿menoß aujtou\ß aÓkolouqouvntaß, le÷gei aujtoi√ß, Ti÷ zhtei√te; oi˚ de« ei•pon aujtwˆ◊, ÔRabbi÷ (o§ le÷getai e˚rmhneuo/menon, Dida¿skale), pouv me÷neiß;

Here meno is equivalent to remain/stay. The two disciples asked the Lord Jesus what house He was staying in.

Joh 1:39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

le÷gei aujtoi√ß, ⁄Ercesqe kai« i¶dete. h™lqon kai« ei•don pouv me÷nei: kai« par∆ aujtwˆ◊ e¶meinan th\n hJme÷ran e˙kei÷nhn: w‚ra de« h™n wJß deka¿th.

The uses in v. 39 are like those in v. 38; they remained/stayed with the Lord. Surely the disciples had fellowship with Christ while they stayed with Him, but this result is not involved in the verb meno on its own.

Joh 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.

Meta» touvto kate÷bh ei˙ß Kapernaou/m, aujto\ß kai« hJ mh/thr aujtouv, kai« oi˚ aÓdelfoi« aujtouv kai« oi˚ maqhtai« aujtouv: kai« e˙kei√ e¶meinan ouj polla»ß hJme÷raß.

The people specified in the text remained or stayed in the city.

Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

oJ pisteu/wn ei˙ß to\n ui˚o\n e¶cei zwh\n ai˙w¿nion: oJ de« aÓpeiqw◊n twˆ◊ ui˚wˆ◊ oujk o¡yetai zwh/n, aÓll∆ hJ ojrgh\ touv Qeouv me÷nei e˙p∆ aujto/n.

The wrath of God stays or remains upon the unbelieving one.

Joh 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

wJß ou™n h™lqon pro\ß aujto\n oi˚ Samarei√tai, hjrw¿twn aujto\n mei√nai par∆ aujtoi√ß: kai« e¶meinen e˙kei√ du/o hJme÷raß.

The Samaritans asked the Lord to remain/stay with them, and so He did.

Joh 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

kai« to\n lo/gon aujtouv oujk e¶cete me÷nonta e˙n uJmi√n, o¢ti o§n aÓpe÷steilen e˙kei√noß, tou/twˆ uJmei√ß ouj pisteu/ete.

Here, when the Word remains or stays in one, it produces effects (although perhaps the statement that the Word did not remain in them is simply an affirmation of their ignorance of Scripture entirely, explaining hence the command of v. 39). See 8:31, where endurance in the belief and practice of the Word is indicated. Enduring obedience is associated with love for God, v. 42.

Joh 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

e˙rga¿zesqe mh\ th\n brw◊sin th\n aÓpollume÷nhn, aÓlla» th\n brw◊sin th\n me÷nousan ei˙ß zwh\n ai˙w¿nion, h§n oJ ui˚o\ß touv aÓnqrw¿pou uJmi√n dw¿sei: touvton ga»r oJ path\r e˙sfra¿gisen, oJ Qeo/ß.

Spiritual food will continue/remain/endure/abide, unlike physical bread, which will perish. In relation to John 15, note that here meno is even rendered endure. The Online Bible version of Thayer’s Greek Lexicon provides the following statistics for the translation of meno: KJV – abide 61, remain 16, dwell 15, continue 11, tarry 9, endure 3, misc 5; 120 (total).

Joh 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

oJ trw¿gwn mou th\n sa¿rka kai« pi÷nwn mou to\ ai–ma, e˙n e˙moi« me÷nei, kaÓgw» e˙n aujtwˆ◊.

Here it looks like the spiritual union of remaining or staying in Christ, en Christo, is in view. The one who has spiritual fellowship with Christ, who believes in Him, who eats His flesh and drinks His blood, is in Christ, and Christ is in him. The spiritual union here would, based on other passages of Scripture, be unbreakable; one cannot be in Christ and then no longer be so. There is no command here to remain in the en Christo position; it is a declarative statement. It looks like, contextually, this statement is something like, “He that believes in Me, remains in Me, and I in him.”

Joh 7:9* When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.

tauvta de« ei˙pw»n aujtoi√ß e¶meinen e˙n thØv Galilai÷aˆ.

The Lord remained/stayed in Galilee.

Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

⁄Elegen ou™n oJ ∆Ihsouvß pro\ß tou\ß pepisteuko/taß aujtwˆ◊ ∆Ioudai÷ouß, ∆Ea»n uJmei√ß mei÷nhte e˙n twˆ◊ lo/gwˆ twˆ◊ e˙mwˆ◊, aÓlhqw◊ß maqhtai« mou e˙ste÷:

Christ commands the believing Jews to remain or stay in His Word. This appears to be perseverance in obedience to it. The verse does not establish any mystical idea in abiding. This is not to say that God does not do great things by His Spirit in His people through the Word, nor does it deny that He does in fact hold glorious communion with them (1 John 1:3); it is simply dealing with the much narrower question of whether John 8:31 proves that He does these things. One should note as well that this verse is a statement that only those who, having received a new nature by grace, continue to follow the Lord are truly converted; the verse does not make a distinction between some sort of higher Christian life as a disciple versus a lower “Christian” life of perpetual carnality is in view, rather than a distinction between the saved and the lost. Those who do not continue and are not “disciples indeed” do not “know the truth” and are not “free” (8:31-32). All believers know the truth, and no unbelievers know the truth (John 1:17; 14:6, 17; 17:17, 19; and this knowledge leads to a changed life as its certain result: “Every one that is of the truth heareth [Christ’s] voice,” John 18:37; and consequently becomes a true worshipper (John 4:23-24), follows Christ (John 10:27), and “doeth truth . . . that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:21). Furthermore, in the immediate context of John 8:31-32 (namely, in v. 36), and everywhere else in the New Testament, being made “free” is an event that takes place at the moment of regeneration (John 8:32, 36; Romans 6:18, 22; 8:2, 21; Galatians 5:1). While the believer is to renew his discipleship daily (Luke 9:23), the call of the Lord Jesus, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34) is a call to repentance and faith, to conversion: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it [eternally in hell]; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake [repent of his sin and his own life and way] and the gospel’s, the same shall save it [will go to heaven]” (Mark 8:35). Those who do not become disciples lose their own souls eternally in the lake of fire (Mark 8:36). While there can certainly be false or unsaved disciples (John 8:31; 6:66) just like there can be false believers (John 2:23-25; cf. 3:1-21), every true believer is a true disciple, and every true disciple is a true believer.

The Lord Jesus Himself, who knew that He was speaking to true converts (John 8:30-31), gave them assurance based on the evidence of the new birth and new nature (John 8:31—a certainty in every truly converted person, John 17:17). How much the more should His people, who do not know infallibly what has gone on within a professed convert, follow His practice! Believers must not give assurance to those who claim conversion but manifest no change of life.

Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

oJ de« douvloß ouj me÷nei e˙n thØv oi˙ki÷aˆ ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na: oJ ui˚o\ß me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na:

The servant does not remain or stay in the house, but the Son does.

Joh 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

ei•pen aujtoi√ß oJ ∆Ihsouvß, Ei˙ tufloi« h™te, oujk a·n ei¶cete aJmarti÷an: nuvn de« le÷gete o¢ti Ble÷pomen: hJ ou™n aJmarti÷a uJmw◊n me÷nei.

The Lord Jesus tells those who oppose Him that their sins were remaining or staying upon them.

Joh 10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.

Kai« aÓphvlqe pa¿lin pe÷ran touv ∆Iorda¿nou ei˙ß to\n to/pon o¢pou h™n ∆Iwa¿nnhß to\ prw◊ton bapti÷zwn: kai« e¶meinen e˙kei√.

Christ remained or stayed in a location beyond Jordan where John had at first baptized.

Joh 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

wJß ou™n h¡kousen o¢ti aÓsqenei√, to/te me«n e¶meinen e˙n wˆ— h™n to/pwˆ du/o hJme÷raß.

After receiving the message mentioned, the Lord remained or stayed in His location for two further days.

Joh 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

aÓmh\n aÓmh\n le÷gw uJmi√n, e˙a»n mh\ oJ ko/kkoß touv si÷tou pesw»n ei˙ß th\n ghvn aÓpoqa¿nhØ, aujto\ß mo/noß me÷nei: e˙a»n de« aÓpoqa¿nhØ, polu\n karpo\n fe÷rei.

The grain of wheat remains or stays on its own.

Joh 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

aÓpekri÷qh aujtwˆ◊ oJ o¡cloß, ÔHmei√ß hjkou/samen e˙k touv no/mou o¢ti oJ Cristo\ß me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na: kai« pw◊ß su\ le÷geiß o¢ti Dei√ uJywqhvnai to\n ui˚o\n touv aÓnqrw¿pou; ti÷ß e˙stin ou∞toß oJ ui˚o\ß touv aÓnqrw¿pou;

The Christ remains or stays to rule forever.

Joh 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

e˙gw» fw◊ß ei˙ß to\n ko/smon e˙lh/luqa, iºna pa◊ß oJ pisteu/wn ei˙ß e˙me÷, e˙n thØv skoti÷aˆ mh\ mei÷nhØ.

The believer will no longer remain in darkness, but will be in the light instead.

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

ouj pisteu/eiß o¢ti e˙gw» e˙n twˆ◊ patri÷, kai« oJ path\r e˙n e˙moi÷ e˙sti; ta» rJh/mata a± e˙gw» lalw◊ uJmi√n, aÓp∆ e˙mautouv ouj lalw◊: oJ de« path\r oJ e˙n e˙moi« me÷nwn, aujto\ß poiei√ ta» e¶rga.

The Father has a position of being in the Son, and the Son is in the Father (see also v. 11). It is certain that the Father and Son have an ineffably deep fellowship, but what in the text indicates that “dwelleth” specifies this fellowship, rather than representing the ontological indwelling, the interpenetration of the three Persons in the Trinity?

Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

kai« e˙gw» e˙rwth/sw to\n pate÷ra, kai« a‡llon para¿klhton dw¿sei uJmi√n, iºna me÷nhØ meq∆ uJmw◊n ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na,

The Spirit would come to remain/stay with the saints forever. See also v. 17.

Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

to\ pneuvma thvß aÓlhqei÷aß, o§ oJ ko/smoß ouj du/natai labei√n, o¢ti ouj qewrei√ aujto/, oujde« ginw¿skei aujto\ uJmei√ß de« ginw¿skete aujto/: o¢ti par∆ uJmi√n me÷nei, kai« e˙n uJmi√n e¶stai.

Here the Spirit is known because He dwells with, and shall be in, the saints. Dwelling or abiding is not synonymous with being known, but the Spirit’s indwelling is the cause of fellowship. This verse does establish an explicit connection between fellowship and indwelling for the inward work of the Spirit. Perhaps a parallel to this in the earlier texts is found where the Lord Jesus stayed in someone’s house; fellowship on that account would be a definite result. So knowing the Spirit because He dwells within is established here. “Ye know Him, because He dwelleth with you, and shall be dwelling in you.” The Lord does not use meno of the relation of the Spirit within the Christian here; the Spirit who at that time was “with” them dwelt or abode with them; at the coming day when He would be within them, He would at that time dwell in them. The verse also supports the conclusion that believers also know the Father and the Son because both of them similarly dwell in the saints; cf. vv. 20, 23. Note the present tense use of meno in John 14:17.

Joh 14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

Tauvta lela¿lhka uJmi√n par∆ uJmi√n me÷nwn.

While still remaining or continuing with the disciples on the earth, Christ said these things to them.

Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

mei÷nate e˙n e˙moi÷, kaÓgw» e˙n uJmi√n. kaqw»ß to\ klhvma ouj du/natai karpo\n fe÷rein aÓf∆ e˚autouv, e˙a»n mh\ mei÷nhØ e˙n thØv aÓmpe÷lwˆ, ou¢twß oujde« uJmei√ß, e˙a»n mh\ e˙n e˙moi« mei÷nhte.

This examination of each instance of the word meno in the New Testament is followed by a verse-by verse exposition of the vine pericope in John 15. Detailed comments on these verses will be found there. Here some general background to John 15 will suffice.

The Old Testament repeatedly presents the nation of Israel as Jehovah’s vine, as well as comparing the nation to a vineyard (Isaiah 5), etc. The vine is to bring forth fruit—although Israel failed to do so, and thus was burned up, in contrast to those who abide in Christ as the vine in John 15. Israel’s failure brought the nation into judgment. If all Israel was “in the vine,” part of the metaphor, the metaphor was not limited to the genuinely converted. Consider:

Isaiah 5:1ff, then:

6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. (Isaiah 5:6-7)

21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? (Jeremiah 2:21)

10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. (Jeremiah 12:10)

16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. 17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations. 1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. (Hosea 9:16-10:1)

1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. 2 In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. 3 I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. 4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. 6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. 7 Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? 8 In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. 9 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. 10 Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. 11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour. 12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:1-13)

21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21)

1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? 4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work? 5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned? 6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 7 And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them. 8 And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 15:1-8)

Note in Ezekiel 15 that the vine that is good for nothing is cast into the fire and burned up, so that it will be useful in some way. The vine here represents the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who are associated with the people of God, naturally. They are burned up, in the sense that they are given over to various awful judgments for their sins. While this writer believes these judgments fall upon unconverted Israelites who are given over to judgment, thus, with those who are not genuinely part of the people of God, although they are such in name, one could also argue that this passage deals with converted individuals who were disobedient.

Consider Psalm 80:

1 <<To the chief Musician upon Shoshannimeduth, A Psalm of Asaph.>> Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. 2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. 3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? 5 Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. 6 Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. 7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 8 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.

It would appear that this deliverance of the vine from Egypt is a physical deliverance, but the spiritual is tied in with the physical for the nation of Israel.

9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. 10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.

This speaks of the physical spread of the “vine” through the land in the conquest of Canaan. Of course, this was also a time of spiritual revival and blessing for Israel.

11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. 12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? 13 The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

Here, of course, the Psalmist describes the contraction of the nation at the hand of her enemies. Although Jehovah is the Shepherd of Israel, now the wild beasts are Israel’s “shepherd” (devour is from the same verb as to shepherd/feed). This is a physical contraction, but it is a result of a spiritual affliction, as one can see from v. 18ff.

14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; 15 And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.

God is to view the children of Israel with mercy; yet the nation is still Jehovah’s ben, His son (this is the word here rendered branch.). This would seem to favor the interpretation of John 15 where the burning is considered as a physical judgment on the disobedient believer; however, it is not inconsistent with a spiritual view, for the unconverted are cut off out of the true Israel of God, and Judas, to whom the passage in John 15 seems to allude in the branch that is cast off, was certainly unconverted. Consider as well that here the branch is Israel, but it also alludes to the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus, as the vine, for Israel was in the Lord (Isaiah 45:17, 24, 25) in the OT, as the saints are in Christ in the NT; so a comparison to John 15 is the more apt, for there the Lord is explicitly said to be the vine, yet the text bears reference to the saints, or the company of professed saints, as the members of the vine. So in Psalm 80 we can consider Israel as the vine, yet the Lord, the Divine Messiah, is not out of view.

16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

This is physical judgment upon the nation, metaphorically represented as a vine. There is no specific mention here of a remnant in the nation who is faithful and a portion that is unfaithful; the nation is viewed as a whole. Nevertheless, such an idea is not excluded; it is simply not mentioned.

17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.

Through the Messiah, who was certain to become incarnate, the nation of Israel would find complete and ultimate deliverance, as they would in part through the human types of the Christ who sat on the throne of David.

18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

The nation would find physical and spiritual deliverance when Jehovah would bless them for the sake of the Anointed One. Being quickened, they would receive spiritual blessing.

19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Spiritual blessing and physical deliverance are intimately united here.

            These many Old Testament chapters and verses employing the vine metaphor are very important general background information to the metaphor in John 15. The verse-by-verse exposition of the chapter, once again, is found after the remaining instances of meno in the New Testament are evaluated.

Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

e˙gw¿ ei˙mi hJ a‡mpeloß, uJmei√ß ta» klh/mata. oJ me÷nwn e˙n e˙moi÷, kaÓgw» e˙n aujtwˆ◊, ou∞toß fe÷rei karpo\n polu/n: o¢ti cwri«ß e˙mouv ouj du/nasqe poiei√n oujde÷n.

Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

e˙a»n mh/ tiß mei÷nhØ e˙n e˙moi÷, e˙blh/qh e¶xw wJß to\ klhvma, kai« e˙xhra¿nqh, kai« suna¿gousin aujta» kai« ei˙ß puvr ba¿llousi, kai« kai÷etai.

Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

e˙a»n mei÷nhte e˙n e˙moi÷, kai« ta» rJh/mata¿ mou e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ, o§ e˙a»n qe÷lhte ai˙th/sasqe, kai« genh/setai uJmi√n.

Joh 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

kaqw»ß hjga¿phse÷ me oJ path/r, kaÓgw» hjga¿phsa uJma◊ß: mei÷nate e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ thØv e˙mhØv.

Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

e˙a»n ta»ß e˙ntola¿ß mou thrh/shte, menei√te e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ mou: kaqw»ß e˙gw» ta»ß e˙ntola»ß touv patro/ß mou teth/rhka, kai« me/nw aujtouv e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ.

Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

tauvta lela¿lhka uJmi√n, iºna hJ cara» hJ e˙mh\ e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ, kai« hJ cara» uJmw◊n plhrwqhØv.

All these instances in John 15:1-11 are examined at the end of this study.

Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

oujc uJmei√ß me e˙xele÷xasqe, aÓll∆ e˙gw» e˙xelexa¿mhn uJma◊ß, kai« e¶qhka uJma◊ß, iºna uJmei√ß uJpa¿ghte kai« karpo\n fe÷rhte, kai« oJ karpo\ß uJmw◊n me÷nhØ: iºna o¢ ti a·n ai˙th/shte to\n pate÷ra e˙n twˆ◊ ojno/mati÷ mou, dwˆ◊ uJmi√n.

Your fruit, your good works, will continue; they will pass through the judgment. All truly converted individuals are changed by God and will bring forth good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). The fruit remaining for all the regenerate is a certain consequence of their election by God.

Joh 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Oi˚ ou™n ∆Ioudai√oi, e˙pei« Paraskeuh\ h™n, iºna mh\ mei÷nhØ e˙pi« touv staurouv ta» sw¿mata e˙n twˆ◊ sabba¿twˆ (h™n ga»r mega¿lh hJ hJme÷ra e˙kei÷nou touv sabba¿tou), hjrw¿thsan to\n Pila¿ton iºna kateagw◊sin aujtw◊n ta» ske÷lh, kai« aÓrqw◊sin.

The bodies were not to remain or stay on the cross.

Joh 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

le÷gei aujtwˆ◊ oJ ∆Ihsouvß, ∆Ea»n aujto\n qe÷lw me÷nein eºwß e¶rcomai, ti÷ pro/ß se; su\ aÓkolou/qei moi.

The question is if the disciple will continue, remain, or stay on earth until Christ returns.

Joh 21:23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

e˙xhvlqen ou™n oJ lo/goß ou∞toß ei˙ß tou\ß aÓdelfou/ß, o¢ti oJ maqhth\ß e˙kei√noß oujk aÓpoqnh/skei: kai« oujk ei•pen aujtwˆ◊ oJ ∆Ihsouvß, o¢ti oujk aÓpoqnh/skei: aÓll∆, ∆Ea»n aujto\n qe÷lw me÷nein eºwß e¶rcomai, ti÷ pro/ß se;

Here it is the same thing—would that disciple continue, remain, or stay until Christ returns?

Ac 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

oujci« me÷non soi« e¶mene; kai« praqe«n e˙n thØv shØv e˙xousi÷aˆ uJphvrce; ti÷ o¢ti e¶qou e˙n thØv kardi÷aˆ sou to\ pra◊gma touvto; oujk e˙yeu/sw aÓnqrw¿poiß, aÓlla» twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊.

“While it remained, was it not remaining to you?”

Ac 9:43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

e˙ge÷neto de« hJme÷raß i˚kana»ß mei√nai aujto\n e˙n ∆Io/pphØ para¿ tini Si÷mwni bursei√.

Here, Paul remained or stayed with Simon the tanner. Note that, although he was with him for many days, the aorist tense is used for his time with him. Of course, Paul also left later.

Ac 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

wJß de« e˙bapti÷sqh, kai« oJ oi•koß aujthvß, pareka¿lese le÷gousa, Ei˙ kekri÷kate÷ me pisth\n twˆ◊ Kuri÷wˆ ei•nai, ei˙selqo/nteß ei˙ß to\n oi•ko/n mou mei÷nate. kai« parebia¿sato hJma◊ß.

Here again the abiding, remaining, or staying is a aorist tense, yet it represents a stay of what was likely a significant period of time.

Ac 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

kai« dia» to\ oJmo/tecnon ei•nai, e¶mene par∆ aujtoi√ß kai« ei˙rga¿zeto: h™san ga»r skhnopoioi« th\n te÷cnhn.

Here Paul’s abiding with these people is expressed with an imperfect form, unlike in the previous instances, where an aorist is used.

Ac 18:20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;

e˙rwtw¿ntwn de« aujtw◊n e˙pi« plei÷ona cro/non mei√nai par∆ aujtoi√ß, oujk e˙pe÷neusen:

Here again abiding is remaining/staying with people. It is aorist again.

 

Ac 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.

ou∞toi proelqo/nteß e¶menon hJma◊ß e˙n Trwa¿di.

The brethren in Acts 20:4 were remaining or staying (imperfect tense) for Paul, Luke, and the rest of those coming from Troas.

Ac 20:15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.

kaÓkei√qen aÓpopleu/santeß, thØv e˙piou/shØ kathnth/samen aÓntikru\ Ci÷ou: thØv de« e˚te÷raˆ pareba¿lomen ei˙ß Sa¿mon: kai« mei÷nanteß e˙n Trwgulli÷wˆ, thØv e˙come÷nhØ h¡lqomen ei˙ß Mi÷lhton.

Luke, Paul, and the rest of their missionary band remained or stayed at Trygyllium for one day.

Ac 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

plh\n o¢ti to\ Pneuvma to\ ›Agion kata» po/lin diamartu/retai le÷gon o¢ti desma¿ me kai« qli÷yeiß me÷nousin.

Bonds and afflictions are remaining, staying, or continuing yet for the Apostle.

Ac 21:7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.

ÔHmei√ß de« to\n plouvn dianu/santeß aÓpo\ Tu/rou, kathnth/samen ei˙ß PtolemaiŒda, kai« aÓspasa¿menoi tou\ß aÓdelfou\ß e˙mei÷namen hJme÷ran mi÷an par∆ aujtoi√ß.

The aorist tense expression means, “They remained or stayed with them for one day.”

Ac 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

thØv de« e˙pau/rion e˙xelqo/nteß oi˚ peri« to\n Pauvlon h™lqon h¡lqomen ei˙ß Kaisa¿reian: kai« ei˙selqo/nteß ei˙ß to\n oi•kon Fili÷ppou touv eujaggelistouv, touv o¡ntoß e˙k tw◊n e˚pta¿, e˙mei÷namen par∆ aujtwˆ◊.

Paul’s company remained or stayed with Philip the evangelist.

Ac 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

ei•pen oJ Pauvloß twˆ◊ e˚katonta¿rchØ kai« toi√ß stratiw¿taiß, ∆Ea»n mh\ ou∞toi mei÷nwsin e˙n twˆ◊ ploi÷wˆ, uJmei√ß swqhvnai ouj du/nasqe.

Those trying to flee needed to remain, continue, or stay in the ship.

Ac 27:41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.

peripeso/nteß de« ei˙ß to/pon diqa¿lasson e˙pw¿keilan th\n nauvn: kai« hJ me«n prw◊ra e˙rei÷sasa e¶meinen aÓsa¿leutoß, hJ de« pru/mna e˙lu/eto uJpo\ thvß bi÷aß tw◊n kuma¿twn.

The forepart of the ship remained or stayed in the place where it had run aground.

Ac 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

›Ote de« h¡lqomen ei˙ß ÔRw¿mhn, oJ e˚kato/ntarcoß pare÷dwke tou\ß desmi÷ouß twˆ◊ stratopeda¿rchØ: twˆ◊ de« Pau/lwˆ e˙petra¿ph me÷nein kaq∆ e˚auto/n, su\n twˆ◊ fula¿ssonti aujto\n stratiw¿thØ.

Paul was allowed to remain or stay by himself.

Ac 28:30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

⁄Emeine de« oJ Pauvloß dieti÷an o¢lhn e˙n i˙di÷wˆ misqw¿mati, kai« aÓpede÷ceto pa¿ntaß tou\ß ei˙sporeuome÷nouß pro\ß aujto/n,

Paul remained or stayed at his own hired house for two years.

Ro 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

mh/pw ga»r gennhqe÷ntwn, mhde« praxa¿ntwn ti aÓgaqo\n h£ kako/n, iºna hJ kat∆ e˙klogh\n touv Qeouv pro/qesiß me÷nhØ, oujk e˙x e¶rgwn, aÓll∆ e˙k touv kalouvntoß,

God’s elective purpose is to remain, continue, or abide unshaken.

1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

ei¶ tinoß to\ e¶rgon me÷nei o§ e˙pwˆkodo/mhse misqo\n lh/yetai.

The works remain, stay, or continue, that is, they pass through the fire of judgment.

1Co 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

Le÷gw de« toi√ß aÓga¿moiß kai« tai√ß ch/raiß, kalo\n aujtoi√ß e˙stin e˙a»n mei÷nwsin wJß kaÓgw¿.

It is good for the widows and unmarried to remain or stay in their single state.

1Co 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

(e˙a»n de« kai« cwrisqhØv, mene÷tw a‡gamoß, h£ twˆ◊ aÓndri« katallagh/tw): kai« a‡ndra gunai√ka mh\ aÓfie÷nai.

“Let her,” says Paul, “remain or stay in an unmarried state.”

1Co 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

eºkastoß e˙n thØv klh/sei hØ∞ e˙klh/qh e˙n tau/thØ mene÷tw.

Let that man continue, remain, or stay in the same state in which he was when he was designated an heir of everlasting life.

1Co 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

eºkastoß e˙n wˆ— e˙klh/qh, aÓdelfoi÷, e˙n tou/twˆ mene÷tw para» twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊.

In whatever state one finds himself, whether circumcised or not, in whatever job station, let him remain or stay in that position.

1Co 7:40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

makariwte÷ra de÷ e˙stin e˙a»n ou¢tw mei÷nhØ, kata» th\n e˙mh\n gnw¿mhn: dokw◊ de« kaÓgw» Pneuvma Qeouv e¶cein.

The widow under consideration is happier if she remains or stays unmarried after the death of her first husband.

1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

nuni« de« me÷nei pi÷stiß, e˙lpi÷ß, aÓga¿ph, ta» tri÷a tauvta. mei÷zwn de« tou/twn hJ aÓga¿ph.

These three things continue, remain, or stay—faith, hope, and charity. While it has not been specifically mentioned in the previous verses, the nature of the meno itself does not require any sort of fellowship aspect to it. If one states that abide in John 15 includes fellowship, this conclusion must be made because of the nature of being in Christ and of of true Christianity (and these things do require fellowship), not because of the anything inherent in the word meno.

1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

e¶peita w‡fqh e˙pa¿nw pentakosi÷oiß aÓdelfoi√ß e˙fa¿pax, e˙x w—n oi˚ plei÷ouß me÷nousin eºwß a‡rti, tine«ß de« kai« e˙koimh/qhsan:

The greatest part remain, abide, or continue alive to the point in time indicated.

2Co 3:11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

ei˙ ga»r to\ katargou/menon, dia» do/xhß, pollwˆ◊ ma◊llon to\ me÷non, e˙n do/xhØ.

Here the New Covenant, which remains, continues, or stays, is glorious.

2Co 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

aÓll∆ e˙pwrw¿qh ta» noh/mata aujtw◊n: a‡cri ga»r thvß sh/meron to\ aujto\ ka¿lumma e˙pi« thØv aÓnagnw¿sei thvß palaia◊ß diaqh/khß me÷nei mh\ aÓnakalupto/menon, o‚ ti e˙n Cristwˆ◊ katargei√tai.

The blinding still continues or abides.

2Co 9:9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

kaqw»ß ge÷graptai, ∆Esko/rpisen, e¶dwke toi√ß pe÷nhsin: hJ dikaiosu/nh aujtouv me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na.

God’s righteousness continues or stays.

Php 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

kaqw»ß ge÷graptai, ∆Esko/rpisen, e¶dwke toi√ß pe÷nhsin: hJ dikaiosu/nh aujtouv me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na.

In this passage, Paul’s “abiding” with the Philippians was his continuing with them, “coming to” them, and “seeing” them again; it was his bodily presence with them, rather than his death. (Note, on the side, that the idea that he could intercede for them after his death as a Catholic saint allegedly could do is not found at all—were this the case then after Paul’s death he could be much more useful to the Philippians than he was now, but such is not the case.) Paul abode with them so that he could disciple the Philippians, but those actions were not inherent in his abiding itself. This should be considered in analyzing John 15 and the nature of abiding in Christ.

1Ti 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

swqh/setai de« dia» thvß teknogoni÷aß, e˙a»n mei÷nwsin e˙n pi÷stei kai« aÓga¿phØ kai« aJgiasmwˆ◊ meta» swfrosu/nhß.

The children abiding in or following the right path is the sense of meno here.

2Ti 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

ei˙ aÓpistouvmen, e˙kei√noß pisto\ß me÷nei: aÓrnh/sasqai e˚auto\n ouj du/natai.

The Lord continues or remains faithful to His threatenings against unbelievers, for He cannot deny His holy nature. He is certain to condemn those who do not believe.

2Ti 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

su\ de« me÷ne e˙n oi–ß e¶maqeß kai« e˙pistw¿qhß, ei˙dw»ß para» ti÷noß e¶maqeß,

Timothy was to remain or stay faithful to what he had learned.

2Ti 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

⁄Erastoß e¶meinen e˙n Kori÷nqwˆ: Tro/fimon de« aÓpe÷lipon e˙n Milh/twˆ aÓsqenouvnta.

Erastus remained or stayed in the city of Corinth, while Trophimus stayed at Miletum.

Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

aÓpa¿twr, aÓmh/twr, aÓgenealo/ghtoß, mh/te aÓrch\n hJmerw◊n mh/te zwhvß te÷loß e¶cwn, aÓfwmoiwme÷noß de« twˆ◊ ui˚wˆ◊ touv Qeouv), me÷nei i˚ereu\ß ei˙ß to\ dihneke÷ß.

The Lord remains or continues to have the office of a priest continually.

Heb 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

oJ de÷, dia» to\ me÷nein aujto\n ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na, aÓpara¿baton e¶cei th\n i˚erwsu/nhn.

The Lord Jesus Christ remains forever; He will always exist.

Heb 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

kai« ga»r toi√ß desmoi√ß mou sunepaqh/sate, kai« th\n aJrpagh\n tw◊n uJparco/ntwn uJmw◊n meta» cara◊ß prosede÷xasqe, ginw¿skonteß e¶cein e˙n e˚autoi√ß krei√ttona u¢parxin e˙n oujranoi√ß kai« me÷nousan.

The heavenly substance will continue or remain forever.

Heb 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

to\ de, ⁄Eti a‚pax, dhloi√ tw◊n saleuome÷nwn th\n meta¿qesin, wJß pepoihme÷nwn, iºna mei÷nhØ ta» mh\ saleuo/mena.

The unshaken things may continue to be around.

Heb 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

ÔH filadelfi÷a mene÷tw.

Let love abide or remain.

Heb 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

ouj ga»r e¶comen w—de me÷nousan po/lin, aÓlla» th\n me÷llousan e˙pizhtouvmen.

Our city here does not remain.

1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

aÓnagegennhme÷noi oujk e˙k spora◊ß fqarthvß, aÓlla» aÓfqa¿rtou, dia» lo/gou zw◊ntoß Qeouv kai« me÷nontoß ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na.

The Word of God continues, remains, or endures forever. These are synonymns for “abide.”

1Pe 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

to\ de« rJhvma Kuri÷ou me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na. touvto de÷ e˙sti to\ rJhvma to\ eujaggelisqe«n ei˙ß uJma◊ß.

The Word remains, continues, or abides forever.

1Jo 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

oJ le÷gwn e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nein ojfei÷lei, kaqw»ß e˙kei√noß periepa¿thse, kai« aujto\ß ou¢tw peripatei√n.

In the previous verse (v. 5), those en auto are those who are truly converted, those in whom the love of God is perfected (perfect tense). This would suggest that abiding in Him, v. 6, is synonymous with being en Christo, that is, with genuine conversion. Consider that this is a present tense abiding. Cf. in John 15 the contrasting aorist and present tense usage of meno.

1Jo 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

oJ aÓgapw◊n to\n aÓdelfo\n aujtouv e˙n twˆ◊ fwti« me÷nei, kai« ska¿ndalon e˙n aujtwˆ◊ oujk e¶stin.

Here again the contrast with v. 9, where he who hates his brother is now and always has been unconverted, indicates that abiding in the light (present tense again) is the mark of the converted individual.

1Jo 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

e¶graya uJmi√n, pate÷reß, o¢ti e˙gnw¿kate to\n aÓp∆ aÓrchvß. e¶graya uJmi√n, neani÷skoi, o¢ti i˙scuroi÷ e˙ste, kai« oJ lo/goß touv Qeouv e˙n uJmi√n me÷nei, kai« nenikh/kate to\n ponhro/n.

This verse also looks like the abiding of the Word of God in people is a characteristic of true conversion. They were clean (perfect tense) through the Word of God which Christ had spoken (John 15:3) and His Words abode (aorist) in them (John 15:7).

1Jo 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

kai« oJ ko/smoß para¿getai, kai« hJ e˙piqumi÷a aujtouv: oJ de« poiw◊n to\ qe÷lhma touv Qeouv me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na.

The one who does the will of God, the genuine convert, will continue to eternity in the presence of God, unlike the world and its lusts.

1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

e˙x hJmw◊n e˙xhvlqon, aÓll∆ oujk h™san e˙x hJmw◊n: ei˙ ga»r h™san e˙x hJmw◊n, memenh/keisan a·n meq∆ hJmw◊n: aÓll∆ iºna fanerwqw◊sin o¢ti oujk ei˙si«n pa¿nteß e˙x hJmw◊n.

The pluperfect of meno here in this verse makes it clear that the elect do abide, remain, continue, or stay. They begin to do so at one point (conversion) with continuing results. The ones who do not abide are lost. This verse provides evidence that in John 15 abide is a synonym for persevere or continue. The evidence would only be undermined if one could prove from Scripture that people can genuinely abide and then cease to do so, be restored to doing so again, and cease to abide again, and continue to flip-flop back and forth, making abiding is an all-or-nothing matter rather than a matter of degree or a overall mark of believers. It is not possible to prove from the Bible that such flip-flopping takes place.

1Jo 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

uJmei√ß ou™n o§ hjkou/sate aÓp∆ aÓrchvß, e˙n uJmi√n mene÷tw. e˙a»n e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ o§ aÓp∆ aÓrchvß hjkou/sate, kai« uJmei√ß e˙n twˆ◊ ui˚wˆ◊ kai« e˙n twˆ◊ patri« menei√te.

If the teachings given before this text remain or continue in the audience of 1 John, then they will continue or remain in the Son and in the Father, that is, they will be eternally saved, for they are en Christo. V. 24, “Let . . . abide,” is a warning to avoid apostasy from the faith. Those who apostatize were never genuinely in Christ, but they had a certain sort of position in the Father and Son, it appears from the last clause here, as in John 15:2. Remaining or abiding in true faith and practice characterizes the audience; because they are those who abide, they will receive eternal life (v. 25).

1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

kai« uJmei√ß, to\ cri√sma o§ e˙la¿bete aÓp∆ aujtouv e˙n uJmi√n me÷nei, kai« ouj crei÷an e¶cete iºna tiß dida¿skhØ uJma◊ß: aÓll∆ wJß to\ aujto\ cri√sma dida¿skei uJma◊ß peri« pa¿ntwn, kai« aÓlhqe÷ß e˙sti, kai« oujk e¶sti yeuvdoß, kai« kaqw»ß e˙di÷daxen uJma◊ß, menei√te e˙n aujtwˆ◊.

The Spirit, who indwells the elect, remains or continues in them, and He makes it certain that the elect will remain, continue, or persevere in true doctrine and practice.

1Jo 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

kai« nuvn, tekni÷a, me÷nete e˙n aujtwˆ◊: iºna o¢tan fanerwqhØv, e¶cwmen parrhsi÷an, kai« mh\ ai˙scunqw◊men aÓp∆ aujtouv e˙n thØv parousi÷aˆ aujtouv.

This is a command to persevere in the faith; those who are ashamed before Him at His coming are lost people, not disobedient Christians, as v. 29 and the previous verses demonstrate.

1Jo 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

pa◊ß oJ e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nwn oujc aJmarta¿nei: pa◊ß oJ aJmarta¿nwn oujc e˚w¿raken aujto/n, oujde« e¶gnwken aujto/n.

Abiding in him is being regenerate; since in Him there is no sin, v. 5, the one who is in Him does not continue in sin (v. 6; and abide is present tense). The contrast is not with a disobedient Christian, but a lost man (v. 6bff.).

1Jo 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

pa◊ß oJ gegennhme÷noß e˙k touv Qeouv aJmarti÷an ouj poiei√, o¢ti spe÷rma aujtouv e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nei: kai« ouj du/natai aJmarta¿nein, o¢ti e˙k touv Qeouv gege÷nnhtai.

Because the Holy Spirit, given at the moment of regeneration, remains (present tense) in the elect, they are not able to continue to commit sin. Those who are born of God “cannot sin,” that is, cannot continue to sin.

1Jo 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

hJmei√ß oi¶damen o¢ti metabebh/kamen e˙k touv qana¿tou ei˙ß th\n zwh/n, o¢ti aÓgapw◊men tou\ß aÓdelfou/ß. oJ mh\ aÓgapw◊n to\n aÓdelfo/n, me÷nei e˙n twˆ◊ qana¿twˆ.

The one who is not loving his brother is remaining, continuing, or persevering in a state of spiritual death, while the one who loves his brother abides in a state of spiritual life.

1Jo 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

pa◊ß oJ misw◊n to\n aÓdelfo\n aujtouv aÓnqrwpokto/noß e˙sti÷: kai« oi¶date o¢ti pa◊ß aÓnqrwpokto/noß oujk e¶cei zwh\n ai˙w¿nion e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nousan.

Eternal life is not staying or remaining in the murderer.

1Jo 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

o§ß d∆ a·n e¶chØ to\n bi÷on touv ko/smou, kai« qewrhØv to\n aÓdelfo\n aujtouv crei÷an e¶conta, kai« klei÷shØ ta» spla¿gcna aujtouv aÓp∆ aujtouv, pw◊ß hJ aÓga¿ph touv Qeouv me÷nei e˙n aujtwˆ◊;

The one who does not help his brother does not have love for God within him, and God does not love him with that love He has for the elect. Not having the love of God dwelling, remaining, or staying in one is being lost.

1Jo 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

kai« oJ thrw◊n ta»ß e˙ntola»ß aujtouv e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nei, kai« aujto\ß e˙n aujtwˆ◊. kai« e˙n tou/twˆ ginw¿skomen o¢ti me÷nei e˙n hJmi√n, e˙k touv Pneu/matoß ou∞ hJmi√n e¶dwken.

The one that keeps His commandments is a converted person. Scripture here equates “he who keeps His commandments” with “he who abides in Christ, and Christ abides in Him.” Abiding is what all saved people do, then, and it is a synonym with the perseverance of the saints, with continuing, remaining, or enduring in true doctrine and practice. The evidence that He continues or remains with us is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not only the possession of Christians who are not backslidden. This fact indicates that the entire verse deals with a saved/lost contrast, not an obedient/disobedient Christian contrast.

1Jo 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Qeo\n oujdei«ß pw¿pote teqe÷atai: e˙a»n aÓgapw◊men aÓllh/louß, oJ Qeo\ß e˙n hJmi√n me÷nei, kai« hJ aÓga¿ph aujtouv teteleiwme÷nh e˙sti«n e˙n hJmi√n.

Here again, the previous and subsequent context indicates that this love, which is the certain mark of regeneration (v. 7), and so is characteristic of all believers, is the subject under consideration. All believers love, therefore, God abides or dwells in all of them, and His love has been completed or perfected in them.

1Jo 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

e˙n tou/twˆ ginw¿skomen o¢ti e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nomen kai« aujto/ß e˙n hJmi√n, o¢ti e˙k touv Pneu/matoß aujtouv de÷dwken hJmi√n.

Here the believer’s abiding in God, and God’s abiding in him, is also a mark of conversion. All believers were given and continue to have (perfect tense) the Spirit, and He is the seal and testimony of that mutual indwelling or abiding. Abiding is not something that a special class of believers learn how to do, but a certain state of all of God’s people.

1Jo 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

o§ß a·n oJmologh/shØ o¢ti ∆Ihsouvß e˙sti«n oJ ui˚o\ß touv Qeouv, oJ Qeo\ß e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nei, kai« aujto/ß e˙n twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊.

Here again, the indwelling or abiding of God in the saint and of the saint in God is a mark of regeneration, not of subsequent progressive sanctification. The mutual association between the believer’s dwelling in God and Christ and Christ’s indwelling the believer is also most noteworthy; all en Christo have Christ abiding in them; if Christ dwells in us, then we abide or dwell in Christ.

1Jo 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

kai« hJmei√ß e˙gnw¿kamen kai« pepisteu/kamen th\n aÓga¿phn h§n e¶cei oJ Qeo\ß e˙n hJmi√n. oJ Qeo\ß aÓga¿ph e˙sti÷, kai« oJ me÷nwn e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ, e˙n twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊ me÷nei, kai« oJ Qeo\ß e˙n aujtwˆ◊.

Here again, it is extremely clear that genuine conversion means that one abides in God and in love, and God abides in him. Nor can the advocate of abiding in Christ as (solely) an instrumentality for progressive sanctification which some believers may never possess argue that abiding in God and in Christ are two different things, for one can easily demonstrate that if one is in the Son he is also in the Father; this is also a necessary consequence of a proper and sound Trinitarian theology. Note the perfect tense forms for “we have loved and believed.”

2Jo 2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

dia» th\n aÓlh/qeian th\n me÷nousan e˙n hJmi√n, kai« meq∆ hJmw◊n e¶stai ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na:

The truth abiding, remaining, or dwelling in the saints was not a temporary state or condition, or dependent upon the struggles in practical sanctification, but a continuing character received permanently at regeneration.

2Jo 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

pa◊ß oJ parabai÷nwn kai« mh\ me÷nwn e˙n thØv didachØv touv Cristouv, Qeo\n oujk e¶cei: oJ me÷nwn e˙n thØv didachØv touv Cristouv, ou∞toß kai« to\n pate÷ra kai« to\n ui˚o\n e¶cei.

Here it is obvious that the one who does not abide in correct doctrine is lost.

Re 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

kai« basilei√ß e˚pta¿ ei˙sin: oi˚ pe÷nte e¶pesan, kai« oJ ei–ß e¶stin, oJ a‡lloß ou¡pw h™lqe, kai÷, o¢tan e¶lqhØ, ojli÷gon aujto\n dei√ mei√nai.

The seventh king will stay or remain in power for a short time.

            The significance of abide as a synonym of remain, continue, endure, or persevere appears clear from an examination of the texts. While continuing with a person may often be connected with fellowship, the word itself does not signify any necessary personal communion. This fact is confirmed by an examination of the lexica.

The standard classical Greek lexicon provides the following definitions for various constructions of meno:

I. stand fast, in battle . . . of soldiers . . . 2. Stay at home, stay where one is . . . b. lodge, stay . . . c. stay away, be absent from . . . and so abs., to be a shirker, . . . 3. stay, tarry . . . loiter, be idle . . . 4. of things, to be lasting, remain, stand . . . having no proper motion . . . b. remain in one’s possession . . . 5. of condition, remain as one was, of a maiden . . . generally, stand, hold good . . . of circumstances . . . of prosperity . . . remain contented with . . . be content with . . . of wine, keep good . . . 6. abide by an opinion, conviction, etc. . . . the party which observes an engagement . . . 7. Impers. c. inf., it remains for one to do . . . II. Trans., of persons, await, expect . . . esp. await an attack without blenching . . . of a rock, bide the storm . . . reversely of things, awaits him . . . 2. c. acc. et inf., wait for, . . . [as in] wait ye for the Trojans to come nigh? . . . they waited for evening’s coming on . . . why wait to go? . . . I wait, i. e., long, to hear (Liddell, H. G. & Scott, R. Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed., New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996).

One notices that there is no definition for meno as “hold communion with” or the equivalent out of the many significations listed.

            The complete definition in the standard New Testament lexicon reads:

me÷nw(Hom.+) impf. e¶menon; fut. menw◊; 1 aor. e¶meina, impv. mei√non (Hv 3, 1, 9); pf. ptc. pl. memenhko/taß 2 Macc 8:1; plpf. memenh/kein 1J 2:19 (on the lack of augment s. B-D-F §66, 1; W-S. §12, 4; Mlt-H. 190).

      1. remain, stay, intr.

      a. a pers. or thing remains where he, she, or it is.

   a. of a location stay, oft. in the special sense live, dwell, lodge (Horapollo 2, 49 m. alternating w. oi˙ke÷w) w. e˙n and the dat. (Ps.-Demosth. 43, 75 m. e˙n toi√ß oi¶koiß; Vi. Aesopi G 12 p. 259, 6 P.) e˙n oi˙ki÷aˆ Lk 8:27; e˙n aujthvØ thvØ oi˙ki÷aˆ Lk 10:7; J 8:35a; e˙n t. oi¶kwˆ sou Lk 19:5. e˙n tw◊ˆ ploi÷wˆ remain in the ship Ac 27:31. m. e˙n thvØ Galilai÷aˆ J 7:9.—Ac 9:43; 20:15 v.l.; 2 Ti 4:20. kata» po/lin remain in the city MPol 5:1 (Just., A I, 67, 3). W. an adv. of place e˙kei√ Mt 10:11; Mk 6:10; Lk 9:4; J 2:12; 10:40; 11:54 (s. diatri÷bw); Hs 9, 11, 7. w—de Mt 26:38; Mk 14:34; Hs 9, 11, 1. pouv me÷neiß; where do you live? J 1:38; cp. vs. 39 (Sb 2639 pouv me÷ni Qermouvqiß; Pel.-Leg. 7, 27; Nicetas Eugen. 1, 230 H. pouv me÷neiß;). W. acc. of time (Demetr.: 722 fgm. 1, 11 Jac.; JosAs 20:8; Jos., Ant. 1, 299) J 1:39b; 4:40b; 11:6; Ac 21:7; D 11:5; 12:2. W. time-indications of a different kind eºwß a·n e˙xe÷lqhte Mt 10:11. wJß mhvnaß trei√ß Lk 1:56. ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na J 8:35b. e˙pi« plei÷ona cro/non Ac 18:20. W. prep. para¿ tini m. stay with someone (Cebes 9, 2; Jos., Ant. 20, 54) J 1:39b; 4:40a; Ac 18:3 (live with is also prob.: Lucian, Timon 10); 21:7, 8. par∆ uJmi√n me÷nwn when I was (staying) with you J 14:25. pro/ß tina with someone Ac 18:3 D; D 12:2. e˙pi÷ tina remain on someone J 1:32f. su/n tini with someone (4 Macc 18:9) Lk 1:56; 24:29b. Also m. meta¿ tinoß (Gen 24:55) Lk 24:29a; Hs 9, 11, 1; 3; 6; 7. kaq∆ e˚auto/n live by oneself, in one’s own quarters Ac 28:16 (of what is called in Lat. custodia libera; s. BAFCS III 276, 364f; 384f). Of a corpse m. e˙pi« touv staurouv stay (hanging) on the cross J 19:31. Of a branch: e˙n thvØ aÓmpe÷lwˆ remain on the vine, i.e. not be cut off 15:4b. Of stones m. e˙n thvØ oJdw◊ˆ stay on the road Hv 3, 2, 9. Of stones that remain in the divine structure, and are not removed Hs 9, 13, 4; 9. Also in imagery to\ ka¿lumma e˙pi« thvØ aÓnagnw¿sei thvß palaia◊ß diaqh/khß me÷nei the veil remains unlifted at the reading of the OT (and hinders the right understanding of it) 2 Cor 3:14. Abs. Ac 16:15.

   b. in transf. sense, of someone who does not leave a certain realm or sphere: remain, continue, abide (Pla., Ep. 10, 358c me÷ne e˙n toi√ß h¡qesin, oi–sper kai« nuvn me÷neiß; Alex. Aphr., An. II 1 p. 2, 15 m. e˙n tai√ß aÓpori÷aiß=remain overcome by doubts; Jos., Ant. 4, 185; TestJos. 1:3 e˙n t. aÓlhqei÷aˆ; Just., D. 8, 3 e˙n . . . tw◊ˆ thvß filoswfi÷aß tro/pwˆ) e˙n aJgnei÷aˆ IPol 5:2; cp. IEph 10:3. e˙n thvØ didachvØ touv Cristouv remain in the teaching of Christ 2J 9a; cp. vs. 9b (2 Macc 8:1 m. e˙n tw◊ˆ ∆Ioudaiœsmw◊ˆ). e˙n pi÷stei kai« aÓga¿phØ 1 Ti 2:15. me÷ne e˙n oi–ß e¶maqeß continue in what you have learned 2 Ti 3:14. e˙n tw◊ˆ lo/gwˆ tw◊ˆ e˙mw◊ˆ J 8:31. mei÷nate e˙n thvØ aÓga¿phØ thvØ e˙mhvØ continue in my love 15:9f; cp. 1J 4:16. e˙n tw◊ˆ fwti÷ 2:10. e˙n tw◊ˆ qana¿twˆ 3:14. e˙n thvØ skoti÷aˆ J 12:46. Without e˙n AcPlCor 2:36. The phrase m. e¶n tini is a favorite of J to denote an inward, enduring personal communion. So of God in his relation to Christ oJ path\r e˙n e˙moi« me÷nwn the Father, who abides in me J 14:10. Of Christians in their relation to Christ J 6:56; 15:4ac, 5–7; 1J 2:6, 24c. Of Christ relating to Christians J 15:4a, 5 (Goodsp., Probs. 112–15). Of Christians relating to God 1J 2:24c, 27f; 3:6, 24a; 4:13. Of God relating to Christians 1J 3:24; 4:12f, 15.—Vice versa, of someth. that remains in someone; likew. in Johannine usage: of the word of God 1J 2:14. Of the words of Christ J 15:7b; cp. 1J 2:24ab. Of the anointing fr. heaven vs. 27. Of the love of God 1J 3:17. Of the seed of God 3:9. Of truth 2J 2. The possession is shown to be permanent by the expr. e¶cein ti me÷non e˙n e˚autw◊ˆ have someth. continually, permanently 1J 3:15; the word of God J 5:38. Instead of m. e¶n tini also m. para¿ tini remain with someone: of the Spirit of truth J 14:17. Also of the wrath of God, me÷nei e˙p∆ aujto/n it remains upon him 3:36.—GPercorara, De verbo ‘manere’ ap. Jo.: Div. Thomas Piac. 40, ’37, 159–71.

      b. a pers. or thing continues in the same state (ParJer 7:37 e¶meine dida¿skwn; ApcSed 11:13 aÓki÷nhtoi me÷nete; Just., D. 90, and Lucian, Laps. 16 e˙n thvØ ta¿xei m.) 1 Cor 7:20, 24. me÷nei i˚ereu\ß ei˙ß to\ dihneke÷ß he remains a priest forever Hb 7:3. aujto\ß mo/noß me÷nei it remains alone J 12:24. mene÷tw a‡gamoß 1 Cor 7:11. aÓsa¿leutoß Ac 27:41. pisto/ß 2 Ti 2:13. aÓo/ratoß Dg 6:4. (mƒeƒi÷∂nate nikhtai÷: mei÷∂nƒ[a]tƒe Ox 1602, 30f is a misreading; difft. AcPl Ha 8, 22//BMM recto 28=HTR 31, 79 n. 2, ln. 10; s. CSchmidt mg. on AcPl Ha 8, 22 [m]eƒg∂a©ß e˙p©i÷keitai pirasmo/ß; Borger GGA 137). aÓskanda¿listoß mei÷nhØ hJ . . . e˙kklhsi÷a AcPlCor 1:16. m. meta¿ tinoß remain in fellowship w. someone 1J 2:19. Of one who has divorced his wife remain by himself, remain unmarried Hm 4, 1, 6; 10; 4, 4, 2. oujci« me÷non soi« e¶menen; was it (the piece of ground) not yours, as long as it remained (unsold)? Ac 5:4 (cp. 1 Macc 15:7 and s. OHoltzmann, ZKG 14, 1893, 327–36).—W. adv. (Just., A I, 29, 3, D. 58, 3 bebai÷wß) ou¢twß m. remain as one is (i.e., unmarried) 1 Cor 7:40. aJgnw◊ß B 2:3. m. wJß e˙gw¿ remain as I am 1 Cor 7:8.

      2. to continue to exist, remain, last, persist, continue to live, intr.

      a. of pers. (Ps 9:8 oJ ku/rioß ei˙ß t. ai˙w◊na m.; 101:13; Da 6:27; Just., D. 128, 4 a‡ggeloi . . . aÓei« me÷nonteß) oJ Cristo\ß m. ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na Christ remains (here) forever J 12:34; cp. Hb 7:24; 1J 2:17. Of God AcPl Ha 2, 28; 9, 11. Pregnant remain (alive), be alive (Epict. 3, 24, 97; Diog. L. 7, 174; Achilles Tat. 8, 10. me÷nein e˙n tw◊ˆ zhvn Plut., Mor. 1042d; Eccl 7:15; Just., A I, 63, 17) J 21:22f; 1 Cor 15:6; Phil 1:25; Rv 17:10.

      b. of things (Maximus Tyr. 4, 8b and Polyaenus 7, 34: ghv me÷nei; Socrat., Ep. 31 [=33]; Hierocles 15, 454 oJ po/noß parhvlqen, to\ kalo\n me÷nei; Just., A I, 18, 2 ai¶sqhsiß . . . me÷nei; Ath. 19, 2 me÷nei su/stasiß) of a city e¶meinen a·n me÷cri thvß sh/meron it would have lasted until today Mt 11:23. me÷nousa po/liß a permanent city Hb 13:14.—hJ filadelfi÷a mene÷tw continue 13:1 (JCambier, Salesianum 11, ’49, 62–96).—J 9:41; 15:16. ei˙ to\ e¶rgon menei√ if the work survives 1 Cor 3:14. u¢parxiß Hb 10:34. dikaiosu/nh 2 Cor 9:9 (Ps 111:9). hJ kat∆ e˙klogh\n pro/qesiß touv qeouv Ro 9:11 (of God’s counsel Ps 32:11). lo/goß qeouv endure 1 Pt 1:23 (Just., D. 61, 2; cp. 1 Esdr 4:38 hJ aÓlh/qeia me÷nei). t. rJhvma kuri÷ou me÷nei ei˙ß t. ai˙w◊na vs. 25 (Is 40:8). hJ brw◊siß hJ me÷nousa ei˙ß zwh\n ai˙w¿nion J 6:27. th\n du/namin sou th\n me÷nousan Rv 11:7 v.l. zw¿shß fwnhvß kai« menou/shß Papias (2:4). to\ me÷non what is permanent (Philo, Leg. All. 3, 100.—Opp. to\ katargou/menon) 2 Cor 3:11. me÷nei pi÷stiß, e˙lpi«ß, aÓga¿ph 1 Cor 13:13 (WMarxsen, D. ‘Bleiben’ im 1 Cor 13:13, OCullmann Festschr., ’72, 223–29; on the eschatology cp. En 97:6–10 and s. the lit. on aÓga¿ph 1a.—For the contrast pi÷ptei [vs. 8]—me÷nei cp. Pla., Crat. 44, 440a ei˙ metapi÷ptei pa¿nta crh/mata kai« mhde«n me÷nei). Opp. saleuo/mena Hb 12:27.

      3. wait for, await, trans.

      a. of pers.: wait for someone who is arriving (Hom.; Thu. 4, 124, 4; X., An. 4, 4, 20; Pla., Leg. 8, 833c; Polyb. 4, 8, 4; Tob 2:2 BA; 2 Macc 7:30; TestJob 11:1; Jos., Ant. 13, 19) tina¿ w. the place indicated e¶menon hJma◊ß e˙n Trwˆa¿di they were waiting for us in Troas Ac 20:5.

      b. of things, such as dangers or misfortunes that await or threaten someone (trag.; Kaibel 654, 9 kaÓme« me÷nei to\ qanei√n; SibOr 4, 114 v.l. se«) qli÷yeiß me me÷nousin Ac 20:23.—Of the 118 passages in which me÷nw occurs in the NT, 67 are found in the Johannine writings (40 in the gosp.; 24 in 1J; 3 in 2J).—JHeise, Bleiben: Menein in d. Johan. Schr., ’67; FHauck, TW IV 578–93: me÷nw and related words.—B. 836. DELG. M-M. TW (Danker, Frederick William (ed.), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd. ed. (BDAG), Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000).

BDAG gives many objective definitions and analyses of the word, along with the interpretive statement that the word “is a favorite of J[ohn] to denote an inward, enduring personal communion.” While meno is unquestionably associated with communion, personal relationship is not an inherent part of the word itself. For example, when the disciples abode in a house on their evangelistic journeys (Luke 9:4) or the Lord Jesus abode in Zaccheus’ house (Luke 19:5), there doubtless was fellowship with the owners of the respective places of abode. Nonetheless, the word itself does not directly require the fellowship.[890] One thus notes that other lexica, such as The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains by Johannes P. Louw & Eugene A. Nida, define meno as “to continue to exist — ‘to remain, to continue, to continue to exist, to still be in existence. . . . to continue in an activity or state — ‘to continue, to remain in, to keep on.’ . . . to remain in the same place over a period of time — ‘to remain, to stay. . . . to remain in a place and/or state, with expectancy concerning a future event — ‘to await, to wait for.’” (13:89; 68:11; 85:55; 85:60). No definition of the word as fellowship or communion is listed. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon[891] defines the word as “1. to remain, abide . . .1a) in reference to place . . . 1a1) to sojourn, tarry . . . 1a2) not to depart . . . 1a2a) to continue to be present . . . 1a2b) to be held, kept, continually . . . 1b) in reference to time . . . 1b1) to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure . . . 1b1a) of persons, to survive, live . . . 1c) in reference to state or condition . . . 1c1) to remain as one, not to become another or different . . . 2) to wait for, await one.” Here again, no definition of the word as a synonym for fellowship is listed.

Based on the study above, the exegesis of John 15:1-11 (cf. v. 16’s use of meno) follows.

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Egw¿ ei˙mi hJ a‡mpeloß hJ aÓlhqinh\, kai« oJ path/r mou oJ gewrgo/ß e˙sti.

The Lord here sets up the comparison He will maintain through the following pericope. As the vine is the source of life for its branches, so Christ is the exclusive source and fount of spiritual life and fruit-bearing. The Father, like a husbandman or vinedresser, ensures greater fruitfulness by removing some branches and pruning others (cf. v. 2).

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

pa◊n klhvma e˙n e˙moi« mh\ fe÷ron karpo/n, ai¶rei aujto/: kai« pa◊n to\ karpo\n fe÷ron, kaqai÷rei aujto/, iºna plei÷ona karpo\n fe÷rhØ.

The Lord’s statement that branches “in me” can be removed is the best attempt in this text to affirm Arminianism. However, these branches are not those who have been regenerated and then fell away from that state—they are those who were never numbered among God’s elect. All the elect will bring forth fruit, John 15:16, and, since they have the Holy Ghost in them, they will certainly abide, 1 John 2:27, or, employing two of the synonyms of abide in the New Testament, they will certainly continue or persevere in Christ and in obedience. The fact that the Lord refers to these unregenerate individuals as en emoi, “in me,” does not necessitate their genuine regeneration. All the nation of Israel were the seed of Abraham, but the unbelievers were cut off from the nation (Exodus 30:33; Leviticus 19:8; 20:17), so that, while nationally “in the Lord,” only the believing seed is “in the Lord” in a deeper sense (Isaiah 45:17, 24-25). One could compare the interplay in Isaiah’s servant of the Lord image between national Israel, the Israel of God, and the Lord Jesus (Isaiah 41:8; 44:1, 21; 45:4; 49:3-7; 52:13-53:12) or the Lord Jesus as the elect One and Israel as elect in Him (Isaiah 42:1; 45:4; 65:9, 22). The entire nation of Israel constituted the people of God, but in a deeper sense, only the believing Israelites, only the Israel of God, constituted the genuine people of God (Romans 9:6ff.; cf. 11:20). In the same way, all those who are members of the church are, in a certain sense, associated with the people of God; but they are not all regenerate.

            The church at Corinth was the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), but some members of the church were unregenerate (1 Corinthians 15:12, 34; 2 Corinthians 13:5). Since the institution of the local church is the body of Christ, unregenerate church members are part of Christ’s body, and thus are, in a certain sense, in Christ. Such, however, are not truly in Him, not truly united to Him, not genuinely en Christo. Contextually in John 15, Judas has just gone into outward apostasy, having left to betray the Lord to His enemies (John 13:26-30). He had been part of the pre-Pentecost church, that first church established by the Lord when He called the first baptized disciples to be with Him (John 1:35ff.); indeed, Judas had been an apostle in the Lord’s church (Mark 3:13-19), although he was never chosen to everlasting life (John 6:64, 70-71; 12:4-6; 13:2).

            The unregenerate “branch” in the Lord cannot bear (pheron, present tense) fruit because it has never had a living connection to Christ (John 15:5). It had an outward, non-living, fruitless connection (and thus the utter pagan is not in view, but the false professor, the unconverted church member), but not a living, genuine connection. Union with Christ always results in a change of life, in sanctification and holiness.[892] Therefore the branch without this living union is “taken away,” that is, it is eventually cut off from even its outward connection to the church and people of God, as Judas was, and is cast into hell. The reference is not to a true believer receiving some kind of judgment; while the verb “take away” is regularly connected to the judgment of unbelievers in Scripture (Matthew 13:12; 21:43; 22:13; 24:39; 25:28-29; Mark 4:15, 25; Luke 8:12, 18; 11:52; 19:24, 26), believers are never said to be “taken away” by God in any of the 102 verses where the verb is found in the New Testament (contrast John 16:22). Those “taken away” are the lost. In contrast, the Father, the husbandman (v. 1, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9; Isaiah 5:1-2; 27:2-3) works with the branch that is vitally connected to the vine, and by “pruning” him brings about the result of even greater fruit-bearing. The fruit-bearing for the one with genuine spiritual life is certain, as is the fact that the unconverted will not bear fruit and will be cut off. We can see in this verse the perseverance of the saints, by divine grace, and the inability of the unregenerate to persevere (1 John 2:19). Verse two contrasts the false believer, represented by Judas, and the true believer, represented by the other eleven apostles, in the church.

            One can note as well that it is taking the metaphor beyond what can be justified when an Arminian affirms that the branch that is cast off, representing the person who goes to hell, shows that truly justified people can fall from a state of justification, for the branch that bears fruit—the truly regenerate person, is also “purged” or pruned—which involves cutting off leaves and branches! If the lost man fell away from salvation because he was cut off from the vine, would not the fruit-bearing person be lost as well, because he also is purged or pruned?

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

h¡dh uJmei√ß kaqaroi÷ e˙ste dia» to\n lo/gon o§n lela¿lhka uJmi√n.

The Lord had stated in John 13:10 that His apostles were clean, but not all; but now Judas having been separated from the church, all to whom the Lord spoke were now clean. They were all washed (John 13:10, perfect tense) through the agency of the word spoken (here in v. 3, likewise perfect tense), so that they were justified by Christ’s righteousness at the point of their faith in His promise, with continuing results in their eternal security. Consequently all that now remained was the work of progressive sanctification, of having their feet washed, 13:10, since they were clean every whit. Clean here and purge in v. 2 are the noun and verb forms, respectively, of katharos. There is a wordplay between the purging/cleansing of v. 2 and the cleansing of v. 3. This demonstrates that the instrumentality of the bearing of more fruit, as mentioned in v. 2, is the Word of God, v. 3, cf. John 17:17. The Word is the “pruning knife” (v. 2) which the Father employs to strengthen the believer to bear more fruit. Saints bear fruit as a result of their living, vital union to the Lord Jesus Christ, through the instrument of the Scriptures, the recorded, perfectly inspired and preserved record of Christ’s Words. God the Father continues sanctifying (v. 2, purgeth) the one who has become clean (v. 3) through justification.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

mei÷nate e˙n e˙moi÷, kaÓgw» e˙n uJmi√n. kaqw»ß to\ klhvma ouj du/natai karpo\n fe÷rein aÓf∆ e˚autouv, e˙a»n mh\ mei÷nhØ e˙n thØv aÓmpe÷lwˆ, ou¢twß oujde« uJmei√ß, e˙a»n mh\ e˙n e˙moi« mei÷nhte.

The aorist imperative “abide” here indicates the characteristic of the whole life of the saint, not a momentary action, or repeated points of faith-decisions to surrender to Christ; cf. the aorists of meno in Matthew 10:11; 26:38; John 1:32. Commenting on the like form in v. 9, A. T. Robertson in his Word Pictures stated that meinate is a “Constative first aorist active imperative of meno, summing up the whole.” A similar aorist for keeping Christ’s commandments appears in John 14:15. Remaining, continuing, persevering, or abiding as a characteristic of the whole life is the mark of the genuine convert, John 8:31. He will abide because Christ and the Spirit dwell or abide in him, and thus make certain his continued perseverance or abiding, 1 John 2:24, 27. “Abide in me” means to continue in Christ’s word and commandments, John 15:7 and 10, to remain united to Him. The true convert, because he is in Christ and Christ is in him, will persevere in unity with the Lord, and one would expect him to remain in unity with His church, which is His body, as well. There is also a connection between the second half of the command, “and I in you,” v. 4, and Christ’s words abiding in believers, v. 7. One notes that the imperative in v. 4 covers both halves of the abiding; saints are responsible for both the “abide in Me” and for the “and I in you.” Advocates of the position that only Christians that have received the “higher life” abide typically do not say that Christ only indwells those on the higher plane—but here those that abide in Christ are those who Christ abides in Himself. It is noteworthy that the commands here are all plural, addressed to the corporate pre-Pentecost church. Is there not a corporate, assembly requirement here for the church to be abiding in Christ, and Christ in the assembly, and His Words in her, as well as an individual application to do the same? In any case, the individual aspect is certainly found in Scripture, 1 John 3:24—the individual who abides or dwells in Christ individually keeps His commandments by the power of the indwelling Spirit.

            No spiritual fruit, no good works, are possible without a living union to Christ, without abiding or dwelling in Him, a state brought about by regeneration (cf. also Hosea 14:8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:11). On its own, “the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,” for the unregenerate man cannot in any way please God (Romans 8:7-8). However, saints can and do bear fruit, for they do abide or dwell in Christ.

            That Christ commands His saints to abide or remain in Him does not require the possibility that they will fail to do so; rather, as has been demonstrated above, their continuing to abide is guaranteed by the Spirit’s dwelling or abiding in them (1 John 2:24, 27). Only those who overcome will enter into life (Revelation 2:7, 10, 17, 26; 3:21), but all believers will overcome (1 John 5:5; 4:4). Their continuing to abide in Christ is as certain as Christ’s continuing to abide or dwell in them.

            Note that Christ was in them; contrast Judas, who had Satan in him (6:70; 13:27), and consequently went into open apostasy. Christ is in His saints, and there He controls them and leads them to do righteousness and continue faithful to His Words, so they will not go into apostasy, but will abide in Him. The Lord Jesus does this in part through His sending of the Spirit, the Paraclete, who is such a prominent part of the discourse of John 14-16 which surrounds the teaching of John 15:1ff. The Lord also guarantees the saints’ perseverance through His high priestly ministry (John 17, the postcontext of John 15). Christ’s High Priestly intercession guarantees believers both God’s preservation of their souls unto eternal life (John 17:24) and their perseverance in obedience (John 17:17).

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

e˙gw¿ ei˙mi hJ a‡mpeloß, uJmei√ß ta» klh/mata. oJ me÷nwn e˙n e˙moi÷, kaÓgw» e˙n aujtwˆ◊, ou∞toß fe÷rei karpo\n polu/n: o¢ti cwri«ß e˙mouv ouj du/nasqe poiei√n oujde÷n.

            The believer, who will abide (present tense) or remain faithful to Christ’s Word and commandments as a pattern of his life, will bring forth much fruit; good works are the certain consequence of spiritual union with Christ (John 3:19-21; 8:31; 10:27; 12:24-26; Mark 8:34-36; Matthew 13:23; Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:18-24; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:6). In contrast, the unregenerate man cannot bear any spiritual fruit or do any good works. The “much fruit” phrase is found here in v. 5 and in v. 8, as “more fruit” appears in v. 2 (and “fruit” with “more fruit” certainly looks like “much fruit”). The only previous appearance of the phrase in the New Testament is in John 12:24,[893] where “much fruit” is a result of Christ’s death. Living union with the Christ who died and rose again, a position in the vine, results in the bearing of much fruit. Those who are united to Him bear much fruit and are disciples, saved people, John 15:8.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

e˙a»n mh/ tiß mei÷nhØ e˙n e˙moi÷, e˙blh/qh e¶xw wJß to\ klhvma, kai« e˙xhra¿nqh, kai« suna¿gousin aujta» kai« ei˙ß puvr ba¿llousi, kai« kai÷etai.

The one who does not, as a summary of his life, abide (aorist tense), or continue faithful to Christ, is cast into hell fire, where he will be continually burned (present tense) for all eternity. The branch without genuine connection to the Lord pictures an unregenerate person with only an outward profession of Christianity. John 15:6 does not picture a loss of reward for a disobedient believer. Other than John 15:6, the verbs “cast forth” (ballo) and “burned” (kaio) are found together only in Revelation 8:8 and 19:20. Neither reference speaks of believers being cast forth or burned. Revelation 19:20 (cf. 20:11-15; 21:8, “the lake which burneth (kaio) with fire and brimstone”), however, demonstrates that the lost will be “cast (ballo) . . . into a lake of fire burning (kaio) with brimstone.” Furthermore, out of 125 instances of the verb “cast forth” (ballo) in the New Testament, believers are never once said to be cast forth by God, but the lost are, over and over again, said to be cast (ballo) into the fires of hell (note Matthew 3:10; 5:13, 25, 29-30; 7:19; 13:42, 48; 18:8-9; Mark 9:42 (cf. vv. 41-48), 45, 47; Luke 3:9; 12:58; 14:35; Revelation 2:22; 12:4, 9, 13; 14:19; 18:21; 19:20; 20:3, 10, 14-15). Thus, the verse indicates that a lack of fruit is evidence of a non-living connection to the vine. The present tense of ballo, in “cast” them into the fire, refers vividly (cf. the present tenses in Matthew 3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9; Revelation 2:22) to the unconverted being cast into eternal torment. The judgment of the lost in hellfire is associated with a similar plant and fruit-bearing image in John 15 as in Matthew 3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9. These unregenerate, apostate, “withered” and fruitless branches (cf. Jude 12; Job 8:11-13; James 1:11), of which Judas is the contextual example, are often “cast forth” (also ballo, here aorist, as in Mark 9:45, 47; Revelation 20:15) in a certain sense in this life, through outward apostasy from the church, to which they had been outwardly united (cf. Matthew 13:47), whether voluntarily or through church discipline, but their ultimate rejection and separation from the elect will take place at the day of judgment. At that time the wheat and chaff, the branches truly united to Christ and those only professedly so, will be “gathered” (sunago, cf. Matthew 3:12; 13:30; 25:32; Luke 3:17) to their respective destinies of eternal joy or torment. The branches without union to Christ will glorify God’s justice in their miserable damnation; they will not glorify God here by good works, but they will glorify His justice by their being burned eternally (Ezekiel 15:2-5; Romans 9:22).

            Christ in this verse says “if a man” abide not, rather than “if ye abide not,” for, Judas having been separated from them, the remaining disciples were all genuine believers.

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

a»n mei÷nhte e˙n e˙moi÷, kai« ta» rJh/mata¿ mou e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ, o§ e˙a»n qe÷lhte ai˙th/sasqe, kai« genh/setai uJmi√n.

This verse helps provide an understanding of the character of abiding in Christ; it is related to Christ’s words abiding in one. Christ’s own receive His words (John 17:8). Here again the aorist verb tenses represent the characteristic of a whole life. The promise, “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done,” shows that the Lord will answer the prayers of His children, as their prayers are directed by His Word. Consider as well that while all believers have Christ’s words abiding in them, there can be different degrees of this abiding. All believers have received the Word, as Christ prayed for them (John 17:8), but they continue in it to different degrees, resulting in different degrees of fruitfulness.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

e˙n tou/twˆ e˙doxa¿sqh oJ path/r mou, iºna karpo\n polu\n fe÷rhte: kai« genh/sesqe e˙moi« maqhtai÷.

They already were His disciples, having become such at the moment of their conversion, but their bearing much fruit would evidence this. Fruit bearing is not an uncertain event; by bearing fruit, they “shall” certainly be His disciples in the future, as they certainly were at that time. The Father is certain to receive such glory from them, because the ones He has chosen unto life He has also chosen unto fruitfulness, v. 16. All believers bring forth fruit, and “every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). This is the consistent teaching of the entire Bible (Matthew 3:8, 10; 7:16-20; 12:33; 13:8, 26, 21:19, 34, 41, 43; Mark 4:7-8, 29; 11:14; 12:2; Luke 3:8-9; 6:43-44; 8:8; 13:6-7, 9; 20:10; John 4:36; 12:24; 15:2, 4-5, 8, 16; Romans 6:21-22; Galatians 5:22 (contrast 5:19-21); Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Hebrews 12:11; 13:15; James 3:17-18). For this purpose of fruit-bearing the Father prunes His saints, v. 2. Since they were good trees, with living connection to Christ, they would bear good fruit as evidence thereof (Luke 6:43-45). Those who are “disciples indeed” will abide, persevere, or continue in His Word, John 8:31.

9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

kaqw»ß hjga¿phse÷ me oJ path/r, kaÓgw» hjga¿phsa uJma◊ß: mei÷nate e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ thØv e˙mhØv.

They were to abide or continue faithful, continue to love Christ, for “if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha” (1 Corinthians 16:22). That the aorist of meno in this pericope represents a characteristic of what is true in general and at all times, rather than the simple action of a particular point in time, is evidenced in this verse. The Father’s love for His Son is certainly something true always, not something restricted to a particular moment, but it receives an aorist in this verse, as does Christ’s love for His elect, which is likewise unrestricted temporally; so we would expect the same sort of aorist for “continue/abide” here in relation to the action of the disciples.

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

e˙a»n ta»ß e˙ntola¿ß mou thrh/shte, menei√te e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ mou: kaqw»ß e˙gw» ta»ß e˙ntola»ß touv patro/ß mou teth/rhka, kai« menw aujtouv e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ.

Genuine converts will keep Christ’s commandments, and thus evidence their continuing love for Christ, just as He continues to love them, John 14:21, 23. Christ’s obedience manifested His love for the Father (cf. 14:31) and His Father’s love for Him as the sinless Messiah and Mediator, and His eternal Son. The Savior showed He loved the Father by persevering or abiding obedience; so do the saints show their love. Saints abide in Christ (v. 4), in His love (v. 9), and keep His commandments (v. 10). Although these propositions are not strict equivalents, as the tense differentiations in vv. 9-10 between the keeping of the commandments and abiding in Christ’s love, and the differentiation between the tenses for Christ’s abiding in the Father’s love and keeping His commandments demonstrate, they all go together. They are a package deal (cf. 1 John 3:24).

11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

tauvta lela¿lhka uJmi√n, iºna hJ cara» hJ e˙mh\ e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ, kai« hJ cara» uJmw◊n plhrwqhØv.

This symbol of the vine was revealed by the Lord so that His joy might remain, continue, or abide in His saints, and they might have full joy. Both things are certain for the saint as a characteristic of life, for the aorist verbs are of the same sort as those earlier in the passage (cf. John 17:13; 16:24). Their abiding obedience and fellowship with their Lord would take place through the Comforter Christ would send upon leaving them, and as the Spirit would abide in them, He would bring them joy (Acts 13:52; Galatians 5:22).

            All believers abide in Christ; they persevere in characteristic obedience to Him and fellowship with Him through His Word (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 2:2). The glorious promise to saints, “ye shall abide in Him” (1 John 2:27), should motivate them to ever closer communion with their Lord. Being confident that He which began that good work of sanctification in them will continue it until they reach glory (Philippians 1:6), and that God will sanctify them, spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) and preserve them to the end (Jude 1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:18), they can boldly plead the promises of God concerning their perseverance and sanctification with the Lord who has covenanted to perform those great works in them. Sanctification is their new covenant heritage and certainty (Hebrews 8:10-12)—the certainty of ultimate and absolute victory over sin in glory, and the certainty of God’s working in them now both to will and do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:10), provides them with a tremendous encouragement to strive for ever greater conformity to and communion with God (Philippians 2:12) and practical holiness of life.

J. Excursus IX: Regeneration and Sanctification Are Connected with the Renewal of the Whole Person, Body, Soul, and Spirit—Not With the Spirit Alone

Some have taught that in regeneration, the old human spirit is replaced with a new sinless human spirit, the old physical human body is entirely unchanged by regeneration, and progressive sanctification affects only the human soul, which is between the perfectly sinless human spirit and the perfectly sinful human body. This view typically reduces the terms “old man” and “new man” to “old human spirit” and “new human spirit.”[894] The idea that the entire person is not changed by regeneration and sanctification, but the human spirit alone is affected, cannot at all be maintained by Scripture. First, there is no Biblical support whatever for the idea that the “man,” whether old or new, is only the “spirit.” The terms old and new “man,” just like other uses of the term “man,” refer to the entire person, body, soul, and spirit. Second, no verse whatever states that the Christian’s spirit is totally sinless, the Christian’s body is totally sinful, and the Christian’s soul is what changes. Third, Scripture teaches that progressive sanctification pertains to the believer’s spirit, soul, and body.[895] Sanctification affects the spirit, for the Christian must be “renewed in the spirit” (Ephesians 4:22) and can properly sing David’s psalm (cf. Ephesians 5:19), “renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Sanctification affects the body (cf. Psalm 63:1), for the body of the believer is the temple of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), so were the body absolutely and unchangeably sinful in this life, the Holy Spirit would have chosen as His temple a house that is absolutely and unchangeably sinful. The believer’s body is to be “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1)—such a command is impossible if the body is unchangeably sinful. Paul tells the Thessalonian Christians that the “will of God, even your sanctification,” is “that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5), so sanctification is here defined as having a holy body, one that does not commit fornication but is holy and pure. Scripture refers to the believer seeking to be “holy both in body and in spirit” (1 Corinthians 7:34), which would be senseless if the Christian’s spirit is already sinless and the Christian’s body is entirely sinful and unchangeable. Similarly, Scripture commands believers to “cleanse [themselves] from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,” (2 Corinthians 7:1), indicating that progressive sanctification, the perfecting of holiness and cleansing of the saint, pertains to both the body and spirit. The progressive renewal that begins with regeneration pertains to both the body and the spirit.[896] Fourth, Paul’s prayer that God would “sanctify” the Thessalonian church members “wholly,” that their “whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless” (1 Thessalonians 5:23), makes no sense unless progressive sanctification renews the whole person.[897] Fifth, Scripture regularly relates sanctification to the entire human person, body, soul, and spirit. The entire “new man” is being progressively[898] “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10). Sanctification does not pertain to one part of man only, but to the entire person (John 17:17; Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 2:11). Finally, while Scripture alone, not history, is authoritative, advocates of a sinless spirit are in the company of “the Gnostics . . . [who] held . . . that the pneuvma in man was part of the divine essence, and incapable of sin,”[899] and according to the “Manichaean[s] . . . the spirit . . . is that essential core of man which is already redeemed, which no longer needs redemption.”[900]

            The affirmation in 1 Corinthians 6:17 that “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” would only prove that the believer literally has the sinless spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ if in the previous verse “he which is joined to an harlot is one body” means that, when one commits fornication with a prostitute, one’s body disappears and is replaced with the harlot’s body. Furthermore, if the phraseology of 1 Corinthians 6:17 proves that the believer literally has Christ’s sinless spirit instead of his own personal human spirit, then it would seem that all the members of the church at Philippi would have had only one human spirit to share among them all, and only one human soul, since Paul stated that they “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind [pseuche, soul] striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). The believers at Jerusalem would likewise have had only one soul among them all, and only one heart, for “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Acts 4:32). For that matter, everyone in the tribe of Judah would have had only one physical heart, since “in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart” (2 Chronicles 30:12). Similarly, the believers at Rome were to have among them all only “one mind and one mouth” (Romans 15:6). How they all were able to eat if they only had one mouth to share among them is hard to understand.

            The fact is that the old man refers to the entirety of the unregenerate individual, and the new man refers to the entirety of the regenerate individual. The believer is changed in his entire being, body, soul, and spirit. Furthermore, while he unquestionably has a glorious spiritual union with Jesus Christ, his body, soul, and spirit are all still his own, and he does not have a sinlessly perfect portion of his being until glorification.

[1]           “Sanctification [is one] of the privileges bestowed upon the people of God, as the result of their union with Christ. . . .[J]ustify . . . means simply to declare just, or to treat as just; sanctify means to make holy. The usage of Scripture is as clear in this case as in that. The word ‘holy’ in Scripture has, however, various meanings. It is sometimes applied to things, and not to persons only.

1.) It is used in the sense of that which is set apart or dedicated to an especial use. Thus, God threatens that instruments of vengeance will be ‘prepared’ (sanctified) against ‘the king’s house of Judah,’ Jeremiah 22:7. But the dedication is most frequently for some holy use. Thus, ‘holy’ is applied to the Sabbath day (Exodus 31:14); and to the house of God (Leviticus 16:33); and to the water (Numbers 5:17); and to the vessels of the young men (1 Samuel 21:5).

2.) Things are also called holy from their connection with holy persons. Thus, the ‘place’ on which Moses stood was proclaimed ‘holy’ on account of its connection with Jehovah (Exodus 3:5); likewise the Mount of Transfiguration (2 Peter 1:18).

3.) As descriptive of an act free from sin, and performed with holy motives. Thus, the kiss of Christian salutation, called in 1 Peter 5:14 a kiss of charity, is in several other places called a ‘holy kiss.’ 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26.

4.)‘Holy,’ as tending to produce holiness; as ‘most holy faith’ (Jude 20).

5.) It is most generally used as descriptive of personal character, whether the holiness be perfect, as in God, or angels, or glorified saints; or partial, as seen in his people on earth. A few of the many instances of its application to this last class are 1 Samuel 2:9; Acts 9:13; Romans 15:25, 26; Philippians 4:21; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:2; Revelation 18:24.

The doctrine of sanctification has reference to the first and last of these usages of ‘holy;’ to the last more especially, as including the character of holiness produced by the continuous working of the Holy Ghost through the word of truth; but also to the first, as involving that dedication of person and life to God, which constitutes that ‘living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,’ which is the believer’s ‘reasonable service.’ Romans 12:1. Christian holiness includes both character and life. ‘Sanctification’ is the process by which these are accomplished. The ‘sanctified’ are those who are thus made holy. To ‘sanctify’ is to make them thus holy” (pgs. 1-2, Chapter 37, “Sanctification,” Abstract of Systematic Theology, James Petigru Boyce. Elec. acc. in Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies, AGES Library, Rio, WI: 2006).

“[Progressive] [s]anctification is not synonymous with holiness—it is not the state of one who is made holy—but it is the act by which such a state is produced. It is . . . the work of God . . . the work of each Person in the Godhead in particular. . . . But, while we regard it as the work of God, it is important in another view that we should regard it as the work of man. The subject of it is a rational and responsible agent. . . . He has a duty to perform and a work to do . . . [i]n prosecuting this work, his reliance for success must be . . . on the Spirit of God working by appointed means. He must be active, and yet he must not depend on himself. . . . [His] encouragement to be active in the use of means . . . rest[s] upon [his] knowledge of the interposition and the agency of God” (pgs. 13-15, The Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification, W. D. Snodgrass).

“[Progressive] [s]anctification may be defined as that operation of the Holy Spirit, involving man’s responsible participation, by which he renews man’s nature and enables him to live to the praise of God. Sanctification, therefore, is both the work of God and the task of man” (pg. 8, Created In God’s Image, Anthony A. Hoekema).

“Sanctification is that continuous operation of the Holy Spirit, by which the holy disposition imparted in regeneration is maintained and strengthened. . . . [It] consists negatively in the removal of the penal consequences of sin from the moral nature and positively in the progressive implanting and growth of a new principle of life. . . . Although in regeneration the governing disposition of the soul is made holy, there still remain tendencies to evil which are not subdued. . . . The existence in the believer of these two opposing principles gives rise to a conflict which lasts through life. . . . In this conflict the Holy Spirit enables the Christian, through increasing faith, to more fully and consciously appropriate Christ, and thus progressively to make conquest of the remaining sinfulness of his nature. . . . The Christian is “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20), but the crucified man does not die at once. Yet he is as good as dead. Even after the old man is crucified we are still to mortify him or put him to death (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5). . . . [I]n the genuine believer, the old does little by little die and the new takes its place. . . . Sanctification does not always proceed in regular and unbroken course, and it is never complete in this life . . . [but] in the life to come . . . sanctification . . . of the soul . . . is completed . . . at death . . . and of the body of the believer . . . at the resurrection” (pgs. 169-179, Section 3: “The Application of Christ’s Redemption in its Continuation: Sanctification,” in Systematic Theology, Augustus Strong. Elec. acc. Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies, AGES Library, Rio, WI: 2006).

[2]              “Christ, by his expiatory sufferings and death, redeemed his people from the curse, brought them under grace, and procured for them the blessing of the Spirit, who creates in them the new man, and dwelling in them, supports the new man against the old man, and gives complete victory over him at last. . . . Christ . . . left . . . sin nailed fast to the cross, crucified, and hard bound, in order to final destruction. The virtue of his cross reaching in due time his people in their own persons, they are justified, delivered from the curse, brought under grace; and they are to consider the old man in them as crucified; in order to his death, and total extinction. . . . [W]e may [also] consider crucifixion as representing . . . the condition in which the old man, sin and the lusts thereof, do remain in the believer; not, as some time, at full liberty, and in full force and prevalence, but, though alive, living in pain, checked, resisted, repressed, and mortified. His efforts, as of one in desperate condition, may be with considerable force, and too often with ill effect to the slothful, unwatchful Christian. Yet at last, like what happened outwardly to the crucified thieves, this malefactor, the old man, will, in the end of the day, be slain by one blow of almighty grace. . . . The expression, however, in this first clause, is not, that the old man is put to death. Persons might live a considerable while, yea some days, on the cross. Crucifixion is not a state of death, but a state of pain, and torment, tending to death. . . . [T]his old man, by a power superior to that of the new man in us, even by the power and virtue of the cross of Christ, is adjudged to death, crucified, and bound fast, as to Christ’s cross; so that as surely as the cross of Christ exists in virtue and efficacy, so surely shall he die; and the present effect of this his crucifixion is that this old man . . . is deprived of its force and reigning power, is enervated and enfeebled; so that from henceforth we are not in servitude to it or under its dominion, though it remaineth in us” (pgs. 60-61, 65-66, The Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification, James Fraser).

[3]             The Author of sanctification . . . is God. . . . The work is attributed to God without reference to any distinction of persons. 1Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23. It is also ascribed to the Father, John 17:17; Hebrews 13:21; and to Christ, Ephesians 5:26; Titus 2:14.

But it is the especial work of the Holy Spirit, who is the author of the process of Sanctification, as he is also the act of Regeneration. 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2.

1.) He enlightens the mind. John 14:26; 1Corinthians 2:9-16; Ephesians 1:18; 3:18, 19; 1 John 2:20, 27. On this account he is called “the Spirit of truth,” John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; and the “Spirit of wisdom.” Ephesians 1:17.

2.) He gives spiritual strength (Ephesians 3:16), lusting against the flesh (Galatians 5:17), enabling the believer to mortify the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13), leading the sons of God (Romans 8:14), and enabling them to purify their souls in obeying the truth. 1 Peter 1:22.

3.) Inasmuch as he dwells within them (Rom. 8: 9), so that they are his temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), with whom they are sealed as the earnest of their inheritance (Ephesians 1:13, 14), so, also, does he bear witness with their spirits that they are the children of God, and, removing the spirit of bondage to fear, bestows on them the spirit of adoption, whereby they cry Abba, Father. Romans 8:15, 16.

4.) The fruit of this indwelling Spirit is declared to be “in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Ephesians 5:9. It is specifically stated to be “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22. . . .

[W]hile there is such need of a divine author of sanctification, it is a work in which the believer is passively a recipient, but one in which he actively cooperates. (pgs. 6-7, Chapter 37, “Sanctification,” Abstract of Systematic Theology, James Petigru Boyce. Elec. acc. in Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies, AGES Library, Rio, WI: 2006)

[4]              “Glory, therefore, is Grace in its full Maturity, or our spiritual Knowledge of spiritual Things grown up to its intended Perfection. A most pleasing Thought this, and it is what may very justly be considered as a most persuasive Motive, diligently to study . . . sacred Truths” (pg. 19, “The Nature of True Holiness Explained In a Discourse [on Hebrews 12:14], Delivered at a Monthy Exercise of Prayer, with a Sermon, on the Twentieth of April, 1749,” John Brine).

[5]             “The depravity or corruption of nature is total. . . . Genesis 6:5, ‘God saw that every imagination of the thoughts of man was only evil continually.’ There can be but a single dominant inclination in the will at one and the same time; though with it there may be remnants of a previously dominant inclination. Adam began a new sinful inclination. This expelled the prior holy inclination. He was therefore totally depraved, because there were no remainders of original righteousness left after apostasy, as there are remainders of original sin left after regeneration. This is proved by the fact that there is no struggle between sin and holiness, in the natural man, like that in the spiritual man. In the regenerate, ‘the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh,’ Galatians 5:17. Holiness and sin are in a conflict that causes the regenerate to ‘groan within themselves,’ Romans 8:23. But there is no such conflict and groaning in the natural man. Apostasy was the fall of the human will, with no remnants of original righteousness. Regeneration is the recovery of the human will, with some remnants of original sin.” (pg. 64, Chapter 5, “Original Sin,” Dogmatic Theology: Anthropology, William G. T. Shedd. Elec. acc. in Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies, AGES Library, Rio, WI: 2006).

[6]              Note that the two thieves crucified with Christ had their drawn out process of dying ended suddenly (John 19:32), as the gradual process of progressive sanctification and mortification is suddenly and entirely completed at the return of Christ or the death of the beleiver.

[7]             Note section III, “The Certainty of Practical Sanctification For All The Regenerate,” below.

[8]             The forty-two instances of the verb in the NT are: Matthew 20:19; 23:34; 26:2; 27:22-23, 26, 31, 35, 38; 28:5; Mark 15:13-15, 20, 24-25, 27; 16:6; Luke 23:21, 23, 33; 24:7, 20; John 19:6, 10, 15-16, 18, 20, 23, 41; Acts 2:36; 4:10; 1 Corinthians 1:13, 23; 2:2, 8; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 3:1; 5:24; 6:14; Revelation 11:8.

[9]              John Murray argues against this view, stating: “[T]he idea that crucifixion is a slow death and therefore to be conceived of as a process by which the old man is progressively mortified until he is finally put to death is to go flatly counter to Paul’s terms. . . . Exegetically speaking it is no easier to think of the old man as in process of crucifixion or mortification than it is to think of the resurrected Lord as being still in process of crucifixion” (pg. 213, Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics). Murray admits that one “could plead the analogy of Paul’s usage in connection with other terms. In Paul’s thought believers died to sin once for all (Romans 6:2) and yet sin lives in the believer (Romans 7:14-25) . . . Paul in the one case dealing with the definitive breach with sin and the flesh, in the other case with the fact that the believer is not yet perfect. Hence pari passu we might think of him as applying the same kind of distinction to the old man, in the one case his definitive crucifixion, in the other his continuing life and activity.” Nonetheless, Murray concludes that a conclusive “objection to this reasoning is that it finds no support in the usage of the apostle [Paul]” (pg. 218, ibid). However, Murray’s conclusions are incorrect.

                First, the fact that crucifixion is a slow death, and hence, while judicially and legally the old man is dead in the Christian, the old men still progressively dies as the Christian grows in grace, is not an affirmation that the “old man [is] in process of crucifixion.” The believer’s cocrucifixion took place at the moment of his regeneration and is not a process, but the full results of that crucifixion appear progressively. Murray does not accurately state the position he opposes.

                Second, the Bible indicates that both the old man and its corollary, the outward man, progressively decay, while the new or inward man is progressively renewed (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16a, oJ e¶xw hJmw◊n a‡nqrwpoß diafqei÷retai; Ephesians 4:22, to\n palaio/n a‡nqrwpon, to\n fqeiro/menon; 2 Corinthians 4:16b, oJ e¶swqen aÓnakainouvtai hJme÷raˆ kai« hJme÷raˆ; Colossians 3:10, to\n ne÷on, to\n aÓnakainou/menon).

Third, not only does Scripture in general regularly and indisputably speaks of crucifixion for those who are legally or judicially dead but still progressively dying (cf. Matthew 27:35, 38, 44; Mark 15:27, 32)—and even speaks of actions which accelerate the arrival of literal death for those crucified but still alive (John 19:32)—but Paul specifically employs crucifixion metaphorically in connection with indwelling sin that is legally dead but practically still present. The Apostle stated: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. . . . God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 5:24; 6:14, oi˚ de« touv Cristouv, th\n sa¿rka e˙stau/rwsan su\n toi√ß paqh/masi kai« tai√ß e˙piqumi÷aiß. . . . e˙moi« de« mh\ ge÷noito kauca◊sqai ei˙ mh\ e˙n twˆ◊ staurwˆ◊ touv Kuri÷ou hJmw◊n ∆Ihsouv Cristouv: di∆ ou∞ e˙moi« ko/smoß e˙stau/rwtai, kaÓgw» twˆ◊ ko/smwˆ.). Believers have had their flesh crucified (Galatians 5:24), but they still have the ethically sinful flesh (Romans 6:19; 7:18, 25; 13:14). Believers have had their sinful lusts crucified (Galatians 5:24, e˙piqumi÷a), but they still possess such lusts after regeneration (Romans 6:12; 13:14; Galatians 5:16-17; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:5; 2 Timothy 2:22). Believers have been crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14), but the way of the world is something they must still battle (Colossians 2:20). The idea of progressive, practical death in sanctification based upon an already completed crucifixion with Christ appears abundantly in Scripture.

Thus, Scripture contains abundant evidence that the metaphor of crucifixion with Christ is properly interpreted in association with literal crucifixion, where elements of judicial death, progressive dying, and ultimate and final death parallel regeneration, progressive sanctification, and glorification.

[10]            The wicked, Paul predicts in 2 Timothy 3:13, “wax worse and worse,” proko/yousin e˙pi« to\ cei√ron; they “advance in their worseness,” and proceed or advance in folly (2 Timothy 3:9) as they are deceived and deceive others and themselves all the more (planw◊nteß kai« planw¿menoi), even as certain sins “increase unto more ungodliness” (e˙pi« plei√on ga»r proko/yousin aÓsebei÷aß, 2 Timothy 2:16), or a child increases in his bodily, psychical, and spiritual capacity (Luke 2:52). Thus, the old man is in a state of progressively worsening corruption (Ephesians 4:22, fqeiro/menon; cf. Jude 10), being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13), as creatures progressively weaken and die and the fallen creation itself decays under “the bondage of corruption” (thvß doulei÷aß thvß fqora◊ß, Romans 8:21; cf. 2 Peter 2:12), while in the believer the new man is progressively renewed (Ephesians 4:23, aÓnaneouvsqai). In the unregenrerate, imputed sin leads to progressively worsening sinning and growing depravity: “Actual sin not only springs forth from the pollution involved in original sin, it also intensifies the pollution . . . the pollution involved in original sin is both the mother and the daughter of sin” (pg. 173, Created in God’s Image, Hoekema). While all the lost are totally depraved, they grow progressively more depraved as sin hardens them, for “[t]otal depravity means the entire absence of holiness, not the highest intensity of sin. A totally depraved man is not as bad as he can be, but he has no holiness, that is, no supreme love of God. He worships and loves the creature rather than the creator, Romans 1:25” (pg. 64, Chapter 5, “Original Sin,” Systematic Theology: Anthropology, William G. T. Shedd. Elec. acc. in Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies). In contrast, the regenerate grow progressively more holy.

[11]            The image of God has a broader and narrower sense. The distinction between the two is one between “substance and quality, nature and grace, creation and redemption. . . . the image of God in the broader or structural sense [is] . . . the entire endowment of gifts and capacities that enable man to function as he should in his various relationships and callings . . . in all of these capacities man is like God, and therefore images him. [The broader sense of image includes] . . . man’s intellectual and rational powers . . . moral sensitivity . . . conscience . . . responsibility . . . volitional powers . . . [and] aesthetic sense . . . this list [could be] much longer. . . . [T]he image of God in the narrower, material, or functional sense . . . consist[s] in true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness . . . Colossians 3:10 . . . Ephesians 4:24. . . . Thus, the image of God in the narrower sense means man’s proper functioning in harmony with God’s will for him. These two aspects of the image of God (broader and narrower, structural and functional, or formal and material) can never be separated. Whenever [one] look[s] at the human person, both aspects must always be taken into account. . . . After man had fallen into sin, however, he retained the image of God in the structural or broader sense [cf. James 3:9] but lost it in the functional or narrower sense. . . . In the process of redemption God by his Spirit renews the image in fallen human beings . . . [and] [a]fter the resurrection of the body, on the new earth, redeemed humanity will once again be able to image God perfectly” (pgs. 70-73, Created in God’s Image, Anthony A. Hoekema). The narrower aspect of the image of God may be termed the moral image.

[12]           Commenting on Psalm 37:37, Nathaniel Hardy wrote:

The perfect man, etc. — Divines well distinguish of a double perfection, it is absoluta or comparata. That is absolutely perfect, to which nothing (that it may be accounted truly good) is wanting; and thus He only is perfectus who is infactus; God, who made all things, and himself is not made, only enjoying an all sufficient perfection, in and of himself. That is comparatively perfect, in which, notwithstanding some wants there is a fulness compared with others. Thus every saint is perfect in comparison of the wicked among whom he liveth. In this respect it is said of Noah, That he was a perfect man in his generations; his grace compared with the wickedness of the old world well deserving the name of perfection; indeed every upright man is perfect in comparison of them who are openly bad, or but openly good; stained with wickedness, or but painted with holiness. Thus one saint may be perfect if compared with another, the strong Christian in respect of the weak, whom he outstrips in grace and piety: such saints Paul means when he saith, “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect;” that is, such as have attained to greater measures of grace than others. It was said of Benaiah, “He was more honourable than thirty, but he attained not to the first three;” and though no saint can ever attain to the perfections of the first three, the blessed Trinity, yet many saints may be honourable amongst thirty perfect in comparison of those among whom they live.

We must further distinguish of a double perfection, it is extrinseca and intrinseca. Extrinsic perfection so called, because by imputation, is that which every believer is partaker of through the perfect righteousness of Christ, whereby all his imperfections are covered; in this respect the author to the Hebrews tells us, “That by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified;” and S. Paul tells the Colossians that they were “complete in him,” meaning Christ. Indeed omnia Dei mandata tune facta deptutantua, quando id quod non fit ignoscitur: divine commands are then in God’s account fulfilled when our defects for Christ’s sake are pardoned; and the evangelical perfection of a Christian consists not in perfectione virtutum, sed remissions vitiorum, in the completion of our graces, but remission of our sins.

Intrinsical perfection, so called because by inhesion, is no less rationally than usually thus distinguished, there is perfectio partium et graduum. He is said to be perfect, cui nihil deest eorum quae ad statum salutis necessaria, who wants no graces that accompany salvation; or he is perfect, cui nihil deest in gradibus gratiarum et virtutum; who is not defective in the measures of those graces; both these are frequently and fitly illustrated by the resemblance of a child, and a grown man; the one whereof hath all the essential and integral parts of a man, the other a complete use and measure of those parts” (Nathaniel Hardy, cited in the Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon. Elec. acc. in Hamel, Ken, The Online Bible for Mac, version 3.0).

[13]          In the words of John Owen, at the moment of conversion and regeneration “by this change of the will do we become ‘dead to sin,’ Romans 6:2; that is, whatever remains of lust and corruption there may be in us, yet the will of sinning is taken away” (pg. 26, comment on Hebrews 6:1-2, from Owen’s commentary on Hebrews) so that believers are “dead to sin by profession; dead to sin by obligation to be so; dead to sin by participation of virtue and power for the killing of it; dead to sin by union and interest in Christ, in and by whom it is killed: all taken from the death of Christ [as explained in Romans 6].” (pg. 104, The Mortification of Sin in Believers). Nevertheless, Owen writes: “Indwelling sin always abides whilst we are in this world; therefore it is always to be mortified. The vain, foolish, and ignorant disputes of men about perfect keeping the commands of God, of perfection in this life, of being wholly and perfectly dead to sin, I meddle not now with. It is more than probable that the men of those abominations never knew what belonged to the keeping of any one of God’s commands, and are so much below perfection of degrees, that they never attained to a perfection of parts in obedience or universal obedience in sincerity” (pg. 16, Mortification of Sin).

[14]            Note that the doctrine of union with the Messiah in His death and resurrection is taught in the Old Testament in Hosea 6:2. “[A]ntitypically the language [of the verse] is so framed as to refer in its full accuracy only to Messiah, the ideal Israel (Isaiah 49:3; compare Matthew 2:15 with Hosea 11:1), raised on the third day (John 2:19; 1 Corinthians 15:4; compare Isaiah 53:10). ‘He shall prolong His days.’ Compare the similar use of Israel’s political resurrection as the type of the . . . resurrection of which ‘Christ is the first-fruits’ (Isaiah 26:19; Ezekiel 37:1–14; Daniel 12:2).” (Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, & David Brown (1871), on Hosea 6:2, elec. acc. Logos Bible Software).

“[Hosea 6:2] . . . foreshadows Christ’s resurrection on the third day. . . . The New Testament does not explicitly cite this verse, but 1 Cor 15:4 asserts that Christ arose on the third day ‘in accordance with the Scriptures,’ and no other text speaks of the third day in the fashion that Hosea 6:2 does. It is clear that in its original context this passage describes the restoration of Israel, the people of God; and for many interpreters this is proof enough that the resurrection of Christ is not in view here. Such interpretation, however, understands messianic prophecy too narrowly . . . the prophets . . . couched prophecy in typological patterns in which the works of God proceed along identifiable themes. Furthermore, Christ in his life and ministry embodied Israel or recapitulated the sojourn of Israel. Thus, for example, Christ’s forty days in the wilderness paralleled Israel’s forty years of wandering, and his giving of his Torah on a mountain (Matthew 5–7) paralleled the Sinai experience. Another great event in Israel’s history was its restoration after captivity, an event that was almost a bringing of the nation back from the dead. Ezekiel develops this concept in his dry bones vision (Ezekiel 37:1–14). . . . [T]he use of the verbs hyj and M…wq here has a strong parallel in Ezekiel 37 . . . From this we can conclude that Christ’s resurrection, in addition to its profound soteriological aspects, was a typological embodiment of the ‘resurrection’ of Israel in its restoration . . . follow[ing] the established pattern of the parallel between the history of Israel and the life of Christ. Furthermore, as so often happens in texts of this kind, the details of the passage work themselves out in different ways. The ‘two days’ are for Israel metaphorical for a relatively short captivity but have a literal fulfillment in the resurrection of Christ. Similarly, the raising to life is literal in the case of Christ, but in the case of Israel it is a metaphor for restoration. On the other hand, there is also a literal fulfillment for the Israel of God, when [they] shall be raised at his coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13–17)” (The New American Commentary, vol 19A: Hosea, Joel, Duane A. Garrett (1997), note on Hosea 6:2, elec. acc. Logos Bible Software).

[15]          “While the power which regenerates and sanctifies must ever be partly incomprehensible to us, the comprehension of the effect is so far easy, that the new birth reverses the moral habitus of the believer’s will, prevalently, but not at first absolutely, and that the work of progressive sanctification carries on this change, thus omnipotently begun, towards that absolute completeness which we must possess on entering heaven. In the carnal state, the habitus of the sinner’s will is absolutely and exclusively godless. In the regenerate state it is prevalently but not completely godly. In the glorified state it is absolutely and exclusively godly. This statement implies that the believer’s motives, in the militant state, are complex; and that while the subjective motives usually dominant are godly, yet there is a mixture of carnal motives, no longer dominant, but not annihilated, which carnal motives enter as part cause even into the renewed soul’s holy volitions. And this complex of subjective motives, of which one part may be morally diverse from another, may result in a single act of volition — the volition strictly one, while the motives prompting it are mingled. Thus it is that an act may be . . . formally right in shape and prevalently right in intention, and yet not perfectly holy before God. And here is the explanation of that strife between the “law of the mind and the law in our members,” of which every Christian is conscious, and to which the apostle points in the 7th of Romans. Now in this prevalently sanctified, but imperfect character, there is a sense in which we may say the carnality and the godliness are complementary the one to the other. As sanctification eliminates the former, the latter extends. Or to speak more accurately, the extension of the principles of godliness is the corresponding exclusion of the principles of carnality, just as spreading light is the gradualremoval of darkness, its opposite — a safe Bible similitude (Acts 26:18)” (pg. 24, “Theology of the Plymouth Brethren,” Robert L. Dabney. Elec. acc. in Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies, AGES Library, Rio, WI: 2006. Orig. pub. The Southern Presbyterian Review, January, 1872, as part of a review of God’s Way of Peace, H. Bonar, Müller’s Life of Trust, ed. Wayland, Notes on Genesis, by C. H. M., Scripture Testimony, ed. Charles Campbell, A Word to Young Believers, W. B., The Return of the Lord Jesus, J. G. Bellet, Waymarks in the Wilderness. New York: Inglis & Colles. 8 vol, The Witness, and Who are the Plymouth Brethren? H. Grattan Guinness). “[S]in dwells in a believer, but it reigns in an unbeliever. . . . Subordinate volition in the Christian is not always determined in character by the fundamental choice; eddies in the stream sometimes run counter to the general course of the current” (pgs. 170-171, Section 3: “The Application of Christ’s Redemption in its Continuation: Sanctification,” in Systematic Theology, Augustus Strong.).

                The change in the predominant inclination of the will in regeneration from unholiness to holiness makes it certain that the believer will act differently. “The real will of the man is in the central inclination or self determination to [righteousness in the regenerate and evil in the unregenerate], and not in the superficial choice of the means of attaining [the one or the other, that is, the volition]. [T]his inclination is . . . the self-motion of the entire will to this one end, in which it is absorbed with an intense energy and interest that opposes and precludes a contrary self-motion. The person in inclining cannot incline or disincline to the end with the same facility that he can choose or refuse the means. . . . The distinction between the will’s inclination [its predominant bent], and its volition [particular single actions], is of the highest importance in both psychology and theology” (Dogmatic Theology: Anthropology, William G. T. Shedd, Chapter 3, “The Human Will,” & Supp. Help #31. Elec. acc. in Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies, AGES Library, Rio, WI: 2006). In relation to the will, “progressive sanctification is the continuation of that holy self-determination of the human will which begins in its regeneration by the Holy Spirit, [while] the progressive depravation of the natural man is the continuation of that sinful self-determination of the human will which began in Adam’s transgression” (pg. 27, Chapter 5, “Original Sin,” Dogmatic Theology: Anthropology, William G. T. Shedd, ibid.).

[16]           Since in sanctification “it is God which worketh in [the believer] both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” sanctification is not sourced in a believer’s actions or works. The works of a believer are a result of God’s progressive sanctifying work in him, changing him inwardly and outwardly. The believer is to mortify, put off, put on, etc. but he does so only “through the Spirit” (Romans 8:13). This does not, however, prevent Scripture from employing expressions such as “sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy” (Leviticus 11:44) or “sanctify yourselves . . . and be ye holy” (Leviticus 20:7; cf. 1 Peter 1:15-16) or “let us cleanse ourselves . . . perfecting holiness” (2 Corinthians 7:1). God gets all the glory, and all the ability comes from Him, yet the believer can still be said to sanctify or make himself holy.

                It is noteworthy that the doctrine taught in Philippians 2:13 is not exclusively found in the New Testament—believers in the Old Testament also knew that it was God who worked in them both to will and to do. “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us” (Isaiah 26:12).

[17]           “[Concerning] the extent of sanctification, or the parts of the human person affected by it . . . we are renewed in the whole man. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, the Apostle expresses the same idea of completeness[.] . . . Now . . . in strictness of speech, the true seat of sanctification is the will: the human soul in that class of its actings expressed in Scripture by the word heart. But the . . . emotional and voluntary capacity of the soul is not a different member, or department of it, from the intellectual. It is the one indivisible unit, acting in different modes. It is the soul which is sanctified, and not a faculty thereof. . . . [S]anctification . . . in its results . . . modifies every acting of the soul, whether through intellect, appetite, or corporeal volition. Every one would consider that he was speaking with sufficient accuracy in using the words ‘a wicked thought.’ Now, in the same sense in which a thought can be wicked, in that sense the power of thinking can be sanctified. What is that sense? A thought is wicked, not because the faculty of thinking, or pure intellection, is the seat of moral quality, abstractly considered; but because the soul that thinks, gives to that thought, by the concurrence of its active or emotional, or voluntary power, a complex character, in which complex there is a wrong moral element. To sanctify the intellect, then, is to sanctify the soul in such a way that in its complex acts, the moral element shall be right instead of wrong. So we speak, with entire propriety, of a ‘wicked blow.’ The bones, skin, and muscles, which corporeally inflicted it, are the unreasoning and passive implement of the soul that emitted the volition to strike. But our members are sanctified, when the volitions which move them are holy; and when the impressions of sense and appetite, of which they are the inlets, become the occasions of no wrong feelings or volitions.

The sanctification of our bodies consists, therefore, not in the ascetic mortification of our nerves, muscles, glands, &c., but in the employment of the members as the implements of none but holy volitions, and in such management and regulations of the senses, that they shall be the inlets of no objective, or occasional causes of wrong feeling. This will imply, of course; strict temperance, continence, and avoidance of temptation to the sinful awakening of appetite, as well as the preservation of muscular vigour, and healthy activity, by self denial and bodily hardihood. See 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Peter 2:14; James 3:2. . . . [T]he body is . . . indirectly holy or unholy, as it is the tool of the soul. The whole delusion [of asceticism], so far as it has sought a Scriptural support, rests on the mistake of the meaning of the word “flesh,” “caro,” “sa¿rx,” which the sacred writers use to mean depraved human nature; not the body [as inherently sinful]. What those fleshly members are, which sanctification mortifies, may be seen in Colossians 3:5; Galatians 5:19-21.” (Robert Louis Dabney, Systematic and Polemical Theology, Lecture 56, “Sanctification and Good Works.” Elec. acc. in Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies, AGES Library, Rio, WI: 2006.)

[18]            “In . . . 1 Thessalonians 5:23 . . . 3:12-13 . . . the sanctification of the whole man . . . is to be found accomplished at the coming of Christ[.] . . . Paul says, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you throughout.” You, not some of you; the whole of the Church, not a part of it. And he adds, ‘Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.’ His prayer was that God would sanctify them wholly; and that prayer he was certain the Lord would answer—doubtless because he knew it was God’s plan and purpose to keep his own, and render them perfect before the day of Christ” (pg. 76-78, Doctrine of the Higher Christian Life Compared With the Teaching of the Holy Scriptures, by Alvah Hovey).

[19]           Baptism does not create or effect the believer’s death to sin. It is merely a picture of the regenerating work of God, previously received by repentant faith alone. See Heaven Only For the Baptized? The Gospel of Christ vs. Baptismal Regeneration, Thomas Ross. Elec. acc. http://sites.google.com/site/thross7. In the words of Andrew Broaddus:

Wemaintain that there is a spiritual regeneration — a Divine birth — a real change of principles — effected by Divine influence, through the instrumentality of the word of truth; the subject “being born again, of incorruptible seed by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” That by Christ “allwho believe are justified from all things;” and that “being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” That holiness of heart is generated “through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth.” That internally we“put on Christ” by faith as well as by the cultivation of every gracious temper of heart; and are “in Christ” by a living union, as the branches are in the vine; while externally we put him on by baptism, and a conformity of life to his holy example and injunctions; and thus, that a person is really Christ’s when his heart is yielded up to him; though not formally recognized as his, till he has been “baptized into Christ.” (pg. 226, Virginia Baptist Ministers, 2nd series, James B. Taylor. New York, NY: Sheldon & Co., 1860. Elec. acc. Baptist History Collection, ver. 1. Paris, AK: Baptist Standard Bearer, 2005.)

Broaddus (1770-1848) was a prominent American Baptist pastor and author in his day.

[20]          iºna w‚sper hjge÷rqh Cristo\ß e˙k nekrw◊n dia» thvß do/xhß touv patro/ß, ou¢tw kai« hJmei√ß e˙n kaino/thti zwhvß peripath/swmen.

[21]          iºna w‚sper e˙basi÷leusen hJ aJmarti÷a e˙n twˆ◊ qana¿twˆ, ou¢tw kai« hJ ca¿riß basileu/shØ dia» dikaiosu/nhß ei˙ß zwh\n ai˙w¿nion, dia» ∆Ihsouv Cristouv touv Kuri÷ou hJmw◊n.

[22]          Note section III. “The Certainty of Practical Sanctification For All The Regenerate,” below.

[23]          “The old man is human nature in so far as it is controlled by sin” (pg. 533, Systematic Theology, Louis Berkhof). “[W]hat . . . in . . . the Christian . . . is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts [Ephesians 4:22] . . . is the old man . . . as that in him, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness [Ephesians 4:24], is the new man. . . . [T]he old man . . . signifies the corruption of nature . . . the principle of sin, with all its various lusts, which possess and influence a man’s faculties, and powers; and that so far as it remains in the true Christian who is renewed by grace, and in whom is the new man: by virtue of, and in comparison with which in him, and in him only, the former is the old man. In persons unregenerate this evil principle is not the old man ; but continues young, in full strength and vigour. It is the old man only in persons regenerate; in true Christians” (pgs. 57-59, The Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification, James Fraser). “‘Old man’ is a designation of the person in his unity as dominated by the flesh and sin . . . [it represents] what we are by nature: slaves to sin. . . . After the analogy of . . . the old man . . . the new man . . . must mean the person in his unity ruled by the Holy Spirit” (pg. 25, Created in God’s Image, Anthony A. Hoekema. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994).

[24]           The fact that the believer must still put off the old man and put on the new (Ephesians 4:22-24), while both the old and new man refer to the entirety of the person, body, soul, and spirit, does not mean that the believer has two bodies, two souls, and two spirits, and is two separate and different men, one old and one new. Rather, it means that his one entire person, body, soul, and spirit, is no longer totally in darkness, as before his regeneration, but now is a mixture of the holy and the unholy, of light and darkness. “In order that no one may suppose that, whereas he speaks of old and new, he is introducing a different person, observe his expression, ‘That ye be renewed.’ [Ephesians 4:23] To be renewed is, when the selfsame thing which has grown old is renewed, changed from one thing into the other” (Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, Homily XIII, John Chrysostom, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, elec. acc.); the same single person is commanded to put off, be renewed, and put on. Similarly, Paul in his regenerate state can identify himself with both sin (Romans 7:14, 20a, 25c) and with righteousness (Romans 7:17a, 20b, 25b), but the Apostle is still a unified person. As the “God of peace sanctif[ies] [the Christian] wholly . . . spirit and soul and body” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) over the course of his earthly pilgrimage, the believer becomes more and more holy and less sinful in his entire person. The old man progressively perishes, and the inward new man is progressively renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). If regeneration is the end of night and the dawning of a new day in the believer, progressive sanctification is the increase of light as the sun rises, and glorification the absolute abolition of darkness (cf. Acts 26:18). The believer progressively leaves the likeness of fallen Adam and the fallen creation to grow morally into the image of the second Adam, the Head of the new creation (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45-49). Thus, Ephesians 4 teaches:

[B]elievers have “put off” Adam in order to “put on” Christ. That is, they have severed their connection with the first federal head, in order to enter into a connection with the second federal head. . . . the moral, rather than the forensic, effects of the two covenants are here in view of the apostle’s mind. We forsake Adam’s “conversation, corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” and adopt Christ’s conversation, who was “created after God in righteousness and true holiness,” thus sharing the same new creation. . . . How very far is all this from teaching it that depravity remains after the new birth a “real man,” unchanged, coexistent with a new, holy nature superadded thereto, which is also a “real man”! (pgs. 26-27, “Theology of the Plymouth Brethren,” Robert L. Dabney)

The new man is fully complete when the Christian is fully like Christ, seeing Him as He is (1 John 3:2), at which time the old man is finally and absolutely extirpated; in progressive sanctification the Christian is only incompletely like Christ, seeing Him with less clarity than he will in glory, but, as he comes to see Him more clearly, he becomes more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). Thus, the saint on earth is not yet fully renewed, but he remains a mixture of the old and the new. How necessary, then, it is for the believer to see the Lord Jesus, and commune with Him because of his union with Him!

[25]            While the ethically sinful flesh expresses itself in the human body (and in the spiritual part of man), nonetheless it is important to remember that “sin has no independent existence. . . . [it is not] something essential and substantial . . . [but] should be thought of as a defect in something that is good. . . . a depravation of the good and . . . also active rebellion against God. . . . The fact that sin is not part of the essence of [human] nature made it possible for Christ to assume a human nature that was not totally other than that of fallen man and still to be without sin. . . . [S]in has not changed [man’s] essence but has changed the direction in which [he] is moving. . . . Sin, therefore, is not something physical but something ethical. It was not given with creation but came after creation; it is a deformation of what is” (pgs. 168-169, Created in God’s Image, Hoekema).

[26]            When the flesh, the sarx, in the “New Testament . . . [refers to] flesh as the tendency within fallen man to disobey God in every area of life . . . we must not restrict the meaning of sarx so as to refer only to what we commonly call ‘fleshly sins’ (sins of the body); rather, we should understand it as referring to sins committed by the whole person. In the list of ‘works of the flesh’ . . . in Galatians 5:19-21, only five out of the fifteen concern bodily sins; the rest are what we would call ‘sins of the spirit’—such as hatred, discord, jealousy, and the like” (pg. 216, Created in God’s Image, Hoekema).

[27]            Sanctification as the putting off of evil and the putting on of good is already found in the Old Testament (Job 29:14; Psalm 132:9, etc.

[28]           The aorist infinitive for the old man being “put off” in Ephesians 4:22 (aÓpoqe÷sqai) and the new man being “put on” (e˙ndu/sasqai) in 4:24 convey an imperatival idea similar to the way that the aorist participle aÓpoqe÷menoi, connected with the present imperative lalei√te, does so for the putting away of lying in v. 25, followed by the imperative forms in v. 26ff., including the aorist imperative to put away (aÓrqh/tw) all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking and be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving instead (v. 30-31). Ephesians 4:22-24 does indeed speak of putting off the old man and putting on the new man in progressive sanctification. Against this view, various writers argue that in Ephesians 4 only the putting off and putting on of regeneration is spoken of. For example:

“[The] Ephesians [were taught] ‘that ye [did, when saved,] put off … the old man.’ The form of the verb places this putting off as a complete past action. You were taught, the Apostle says, the truth about being in Christ and that by so much your ‘old man’ was laid aside. The former Adamic standing is in view, and with it its corrupt practices which are no longer in order. At that time, also, ye did put on the new man” (Systematic Theology, Lewis Sperry Chafer, vol. 4, pg. 95; cf. vol. 6, pg. 270. Elec. acc. Logos Bible Software).

“Paul, [in] Ephesians 4:22-24 . . . seem[s] [to be] exhorting believers ‘to put off according to the former manner of life the old man’ and ‘to put on the new man.’. . . [C]onsiderations of grammar would not . . . be violated if this interpretation were adopted. . . . [both] the infinitive . . . with imperative force . . . [and the] infinitive of result . . . [would] be appropriate . . . if believers are conceived of as progressively putting off the old man and putting on the new. . . . But exegetical considerations and the analogy of Paul’s teaching elsewhere point to the entirely different conclusion, namely, that when Paul speaks of putting off the old man and putting on the new man he is thinking in terms of result rather than in terms of exhortation. The passage should therefore be rendered as . . . [‘so that ye have put off . . . the old man . . . and have put on the new man’” (pgs. 214-215, Principles of Conduct, John Murray).

While the truth that, in one sense, the believer puts off the old man and puts on the new man in regeneration is not in dispute (Colossians 3:9-10), the Greek text of Ephesians 4:22-24 is properly interpreted to refer to a continuing putting on and putting off connected with progressive sanctification, as it does in the English of the Authorized Version (and ancient versions such as the Latin Vulgate).

                First, one cannot conclude that aÓpoqe÷sqai and e˙ndu/sasqai refer to a point action simply because they are aorists rather than in the present tense. Every time aÓpoti÷qhmi appears in the NT the verb is in the aorist (Acts 7:58; Romans 13:12; Ephesians 4:22, 25; Colossians 3:8; Hebrews 12:1; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1), and in the LXX the verb only appears in the aorist (Exodus 16:34; Leviticus 24:12; Numbers 15:34; 17:22, 25; Joshua 4:8; 2 Chronicles 18:26; Joel 1:18; 1 Esdras 6:18; 1 Maccabees 1:35; 4:46; 2 Maccabees 8:35; MSS of Tobit 6:4) and the future (Exodus 16:33; Leviticus 16:23; Numbers 19:9; Joel 1:18). While the present tense of the verb did exist in the Koiné (e. g., Shepherd 93:3), it was much rarer than the present tense. The aorist of aÓpoti÷qhmi is what Paul would naturally use in Ephesians 4:22 to describe the decisive rejection of the old man God requires of the regenerate in progressive sanctification. Similarly, the large majority of instances of e˙ndu/w in the NT are in the aorist (Matthew 6:25; 27:31; Mark 6:9; 15:17, 20; Luke 12:22; 15:22; 24:49; Acts 12:21; Romans 13:12, 14; 1 Corinthians 15:53–54; 2 Corinthians 5:3; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:24; 6:11, 14; Colossians 3:10, 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; there are a few perfects: Matthew 22:11; Mark 1:6; Revelation 1:13; 15:6; 19:14; and one present: Mark 15:17—probably a historical present, thus with its aspectual value suppressed), and in the LXX there are 55 instances of the verb in the aorist (Genesis 3:21; 27:15; 38:19; 41:42; Leviticus 8:7, 13; 21:10; Numbers 20:26, 28; Deuteronomy 22:5; Judges 6:34; 1 Samuel 17:38; 2 Samuel 14:2; 1 Kings 22:30; 1 Chronicles 12:19; 2 Chronicles 6:41; 18:29; 24:20; 28:15; Esther 4:1; Psalm 34:26; 64:14; 92:1; 103:1; 108:18, 29; Proverbs 31:26; Song 5:3; Job 10:11; 39:19; Jonah 3:5; Zechariah 3:4; Isaiah 51:9; 52:1; 59:17; 61:10; Jerermiah 26:4; Baruch 4:20; 5:1; Ezekiel 16:10; Daniel 5:29; Esther 14:1; Judith 10:3; 1 Maccabees 1:28; 3:3; 10:21, 62; 14:9; Sirach 17:3; 45:8, 13; Solomon 11:7), a variety of instances of other tenses (future: Exodus 28:41, 29:5, 8, 30; 40:13, 14; Leviticus 6:3, 4; 16:4, 24, 32; Deuteronomy 22:11; Psalm 131:9, 16, 18; Proverbs 23:21; Job 8:22; Isaiah 22:21; 49:18; 50:3; Jeremiah 10:9; Ezekiel 7:27; 42:14; 44:17, 19; Wisdom 5:18; Sirach 6:31; 27:8; 43:20; perfect: 1 Samuel 17:5; 2 Samuel 6:14; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 18:9; Zephaniah 1:8; Zechariah 3:3; 13:4; Ezekiel 9:2, 3, 11; 10:2, 6, 7; 23:6, 12; 38:4; Daniel 6:4; 10:5; 1 Esdras 5:40; pluperfect: Leviticus 16:23; Job 29:14; Esther 15:6; Judith 9:1; 10:3; imperfect: Psalm 34:13), but only one instance of the present (Baruch 6:32). Furthermore, the aorist is at times employed for actions that are actually durative (e. g., Proverbs 31:26). It is, therefore, reasonable that Paul employs an aorist of e˙ndu/w in Ephesians 4:24, rather than a present tense, to express what is in actuality a lifelong putting off and putting on. The aorists in Romans 13:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Ephesians 6:11 are also instructive.

                Second, an imperatival resultant sense for the infinitives aÓpoqe÷sqai and e˙ndu/sasqai in Ephesians 4:22, 24 is evident because of their dependence upon the e˙dida¿cqhte of v. 21, as an imperatival sense attaches itself to the infinitive peripatei√n in 4:17 because of its connection to a didactic le÷gw (cf. also Ephesians 3:8). As in v. 17 Paul instructs, “I say . . . that ye walk not,” so in 4:21-24 the Apostle tells the church: “ye have been taught . . . that ye put off . . . that ye put on.” Because of this teaching, the Ephesians were to be speaking truth, putting away lying (aÓpoqe÷menoi to\ yeuvdoß lalei√te aÓlh/qeian, 4:25), and obeying the series of commands in 4:29-32, including the command to “put away” (aÓrqh/tw) various sins in 4:31. The following context therefore supports the imperatival sense of v. 22-24. Furthermore, aÓpoqe÷sqai and e˙ndu/sasqai are aorist infinitives in indirect discourse, and in the over 150 other instances of aorist infinitives in indirect discourse in the NT (cf. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pg. 605), none of them represent an aorist indicative in the underlying direct discourse (“have put off/have put on”) rather than an aorist imperative (“put off/put on”). “There is apparently no instance in the New Testament of the Aorist Infinitive in indirect discourse representing the Aorist Indicative of the direct form” (pgs. 52-53 (§ 114), Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek, E. Burton). Context and syntax syntax support an imperatival idea for the infinitives in Ephesians 4:22, 24.

                While Colossians 3:9-10 refers to the a decisive putting off of the old man and putting on of the new man in regeneration, Ephesians 4:22-24 speaks of putting off the old man and putting on the new man as a part of progressive sanctification.

[29]           “The ‘old man’ cannot continue unmodified in the presence of the ‘new man,’ because the one principle is the opposite and is exclusive of the other. To die unto sin is to live unto righteousness. The increment of light is the diminution of darkness. The waxing of the “new man” is the waning of the “old man” Hence (and this is the Bible view) if any professed believer has the “old man” as strong and lively as ever, it is proof positive that the “new man” has never entered at all; his faith is vain; he is yet in his sins. (Jam. 2:22, etc.) And if any professed believer finds the old carnal principle reviving, it is proof positive that his spiritual life is proportionally going backward at that time[.] . . . [T]here is another reason why, for those who do not die immediately after conversion, progressive sanctification is still imperative. The principle of holiness, if genuine, is incapable of tolerating indwelling sin in peace. The struggle is inevitable in a true Christian, and as ‘he that is with us is more than he that is against us,’ gradual conquests, at least over indwelling sin, are the general rule of every genuine Christian life” (pgs. 25-26, “Theology of the Plymouth Brethren,” Robert L. Dabney).

[30]          e˙n thØv aÓpekdu/sei touv sw¿matoß tw◊n aJmartiw◊n thvß sarko/ß, e˙n thØv peritomhØv touv Cristouv.

[31]           The fact that Romans 7:14-25 describes the Christian life is defended in “Excursus II: Romans 7:14-25: A Depiction of Part of the Normal Christian Life.”

[32]           If someone wished to conclude from the fact that the verb “yield” in Romans 6:19 is an aorist imperative (parasth/sate) that the verse speaks solely of a decision that one makes only once in his entire life, he would, it seems, also have to conclude that in their unregenerate life the Roman Christians only yielded themselves to sin once in their life, because Romans 6:19 describes their past life of yieldedness to sin with an aorist (paresth/sate). Somehow the unsaved would, it seems, have to yield themselves to sin only once, and permanently, for their whole lives. All of the members of the church at Rome would have engaged in this once-for-all yielding to sin. They then would have to have made this permanent yielding to sin temporary when they were converted and turned from their sins. The clear fact of the matter is that the proponents of the argument that the aorist imperative “yield” in Romans 6:19 must refer solely to a once-for-a-lifetime yielding are reading very greatly into the verse and ignoring the plain requirements of the immediate context. Concluding that the aorist requires a once-for-life action also is clearly more than is required by the Greek syntax (cf. pgs. 719-721, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996). This is not to deny, of course, that a believer holding on to sin is required to make a clean and immediate break with it.

[33]          “The agency of the Spirit of God, is that operation of Divine power which either renews the sinner in the image of God, or afterwards produces in him divine conformity to that image. It is the effectual operations of God’s spirit, of which we intend to treat, in distinction from that operation which attended Saul among the prophets, or Judas among the apostles. We speak of that powerful operation which renews the heart of the dead sinner, translates him out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, and carries on the work begun by this change until it be consummated in glory. The person who is the subject of these effectual operations . . . [has his] stony heart . . . taken away, and a heart of flesh . . . given[.] [T]he captive soul is released, and a new song is put into his mouth, a new language flows from his lips, a new conduct appears in his life; — in a word all things are become new. . . . The agency of God’s spirit carries on the salvation of the sinner from regeneration to glory; it is all of God. But the renewing and sanctifying influences are capable of a distinction; the former implant a principle of life; the latter invigorate the principle implanted. In the first, the spirit makes no use of the faculties of the soul; in the last, the rational faculties are used, and become subservient to the work. The subject of the sanctifying operations of the spirit, has every faculty of soul rendered attentive to the things of God. He “with open face beholds as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and is changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the spirit of the Lord.” By these transforming discoveries, progressive conformity to God is carried on in his soul. While he sees in the glass of God’s word, the REDEEMER’S beauty and his own frightful deformity, he abhors the one, and loves the other. He longs to be delivered from sin; he pants after God, the living God. Thus the whole work of sanctification is carried on by clear, and soul-effecting views of the beauty of holiness and the deformity of sin; whilst the Holy Ghost, hovering over the soul, creates in it that desire after the one, and aversion from the other, which leads a man to cleanse himself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord” (Circular Letter of the Shaftsbury Baptist Association, 1794, on the “Agency of the Holy Spirit,” by Isaac Webb, cited from pgs. 38-39, History of the Shaftsbury Baptist Association from 1781 to 1853, Stephen Wright. Elec. acc. Baptist History Collection, ver. 1. Paris, AK: Baptist Standard Bearer, 2005).

[34]           For example, one notes that, despite the apparently valid distinction between the putting to death of “deeds” in Romans 8:13 and “members” in Colossians 3:5, a list of specific sinful acts follows the command to mortify members in Colossians 3:5.

[35]           Thus, BDAG lists as the second definition of thanatoo, “to cause total cessation of an activity, put to death, extirpate.” This does not mean, of course, that the believer ever eliminates every single manifestation of sin from his life, but he does gain absolute victory over a course of continued sin and has the ability, by the Spirit, to entirely defeat the outward appearance of specific sins.

[36]           The complete list of references is Matthew 10:21; 26:59; 27:1; Mark 13:12; 14:55; Luke 21:16; Romans 7:4; 8:13, 36; 2 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Peter 3:18.

[37]      And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: kai« mh\ aÓsqenh/saß thØv pi÷stei, ouj kateno/hse to\ e˚autouv sw◊ma h¡dh nenekrwme÷non (e˚katontae÷thß pou uJpa¿rcwn), kai« th\n ne÷krwsin thvß mh/traß Sa¿rraß: (Romans 4:19); Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. dio\ kai« aÓf∆ e˚no\ß e˙gennh/qhsan, kai« tauvta nenekrwme÷nou, kaqw»ß ta» a‡stra touv oujranouv twˆ◊ plh/qei, kai« wJsei« a‡mmoß hJ para» to\ cei√loß thvß qala¿sshß hJ aÓnari÷qmhtoß (Hebrews 11:12).

[38]           Note also the use of the related noun ne÷krwsiß in Romans 4:19 for the “deadness” of Sarah’s womb. Her womb was still extant, and that part of her body was still literally, but it was as good as dead, for (apart from the miraculous intervention of God) she was not going to bear any children. The only other use of the noun ne÷krwsiß in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 4:10) refers to the physical persecutions suffered by Paul on account of his identification with Christ, his being “troubled on every side . . . perplexed . . . persecuted . . . cast down [and being] alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11). This passage also illustrates the “death as process” (BDAG on ne÷krwsiß) idea for mortification with nekroo—Paul was not absolutely and in every way literally dead, but death was working in him (2 Corinthians 4:12). As Paul was experiencing nekrosis in his physical body on account of persecution, but he was not “distressed . . . perplexed . . . forsaken . . . [or] destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12), so while the Christian mortifies (nekroo) his earthly members (Colossians 3:5) they are not entirely destroyed and absolutely eliminated before progressive sanctification is consummated in glorification.

[39]           Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel. trans. & ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. 4. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967.

[40]          Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Henry Thayer. Elec. acc. Online Bible for Mac, Ken Hamel.

[41]           The idea of becoming as good as dead is illustrated in Josephus, Antiquties of the Jews 6:306 (6.13.8.306): When David had said this, he dismissed the woman. But when she came home and found her husband feasting with a great company, and oppressed with wine, she said nothing to him then about what had happened; but on the next day, when he was sober, she told him all the particulars, and made his whole body to appear like that of a dead man by her words, and by that grief which arose from them; so Nabal survived ten days, and no more, and then died.

Tauvt∆ ei˙pw»n aÓpolu/ei th\n gunai√ka hJ d∆ ei˙ß to\n oi•kon e˙lqouvsa kai« katalabouvsa to\n a‡ndra meta» pollw◊n eujwcou/menon kai« kekarwme÷non h¡dh to/te me«n oujde«n tw◊n gegenhme÷nwn diesa¿fei thØv de« e˙piou/shØ nh/fonti a‚panta dhlw¿sasa pareqhvnai kai« pa◊n aujtwˆ◊ nekrwqhvnai to\ sw◊ma uJpo\ tw◊n lo/gwn kai« thvß e˙p∆ aujtoi√ß lu/phß e˙poi÷hse kai« de÷ka ouj plei÷ouß e˙pizh/saß hJme÷raß to\n bi÷on kate÷streyen oJ Na¿baloß.

                Another relevant illustration is in Philo, On The Eternity of the World 125:

But we must now proceed to consider the question which we postponed till the present time. What sort of a part of the earth is that, that we may begin from this, whether it is greater or less, that is not dissolved by time? Do not the very hardest and strongest stones become hard and decayed through the weakness of their conformation (and this conformation is a sort of course of a highly strained spirit, a bond not indissoluble, but only very difficult to unloose), in consequence of which they are broken up and made fluid, so that they are dissolved first of all into a thin dust, and afterwards are wholly wasted away and destroyed? Again, if the water were never agitated by the winds, but were left immoveable for ever, would it not from inaction and tranquillity become dead? at all events it is changed by such stagnation, and becomes very foetid and foul-smelling, like an animal deprived of life.

o§ d∆ uJpereqe÷meqa, nuvn e˙piskepte÷on. poi√on me÷roß thvß ghvß, iºna aÓpo\ tau/thß aÓrxw¿meqa, mei√zon h£ e¶latton, ouj cro/nwˆ dialu/etai; li÷qwn oi˚ krataio/tatoi a‡r∆ ouj mudw◊si kai« sh/pontai kai« kata» th\n eºxewß aÓsqe÷neian hJ d∆ e˙sti« pneumatiko\ß to/noß, desmo\ß oujk a‡rrhktoß aÓlla» mo/non dusdia¿lutoß qrupto/menoi kai« rJe÷onteß ei˙ß lepth\n to\ prw◊ton aÓnalu/ontai ko/nin, ei¶q∆ u¢steron dapanhqe÷nteß e˙xanalouvntai; ti÷ d∆, ei˙ mh\ pro\ß aÓne÷mwn rJipi÷zoito to\ u¢dwr, aÓki÷nhton e˙aqe«n oujc uJf∆ hJsuci÷aß nekrouvtai; metaba¿llei gouvn kai« duswde÷staton gi÷netai, oi–a yuch\n aÓfhØrhme÷non zwˆ◊on.

[42]          The truth that believers are to progressively mortify indwelling sin is clearly Scriptural, but 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily,” does not increase the exegetical support for this conclusion, as the death spoken of in the verse is physical; when the Apostle Paul stated that he died daily, he meant that that he was in constant danger of physical death because of his preaching the gospel. Any use of the text to support daily mortification must be, consequently, only a conclusion drawn from the fact that Paul’s ability to serve in the light of the physical danger he was in would require special spiritual strength from Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:30-31 reads: “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily,” ti÷ kai« hJmei√ß kinduneu/omen pa◊san w‚ran; kaq∆ hJme÷ran aÓpoqnhØ/skw, nh\ th\n uJmete÷ran kau/chsin, h§n e¶cw e˙n Cristwˆ◊ ∆Ihsouv twˆ◊ Kuri÷wˆ hJmw◊n. Paul’s daily death is clearly connected with his physical “jeopardy every hour,” as even the conjunction of the phrases in the Greek text demonstrates (kinduneu/omen pa◊san w‚ran; kaq∆ hJme÷ran aÓpoqnhØ/skw). The death of 1 Corinthians 15:31 is physical death, just like the reference to death in 1 Corinthians 15:32.

                BDAG notes that the verb “to die,” aÓpoqnhØ/skw, can mean:

the prospect of death or realization of mortality be about to die, face death, be mortal (Phalaris, Ep. 52 aÓpoqnh/Øskonteß=be in danger of death; Philosoph. Max 495, 125 oJ tw◊n aÓsw¿twn bi÷oß w‚sper kaq∆ hJme÷ran aÓpoqnh/Øskwn e˙kfe÷retai; Athen. 12, 552b kaq∆ e˚ka¿sthn hJme÷ran aÓpoqnh/Øskein; Seneca, Ep. 24, 20 (cotidie morimur); Philo, In Flacc. 175; PGiss 17, 9 aÓpoqnh/Øskomen o¢ti ouj ble÷pome÷n se kaq∆ hJme÷ran) kaq∆ hJme÷ran aÓ. I face death every day 1 Cor 15:31 (cp. Ps 43:23). wJß aÓpoqnh/Øskonteß kai« i˙dou\ zw◊men 2 Cor 6:9. aÓpoqnh/Øskonteß a‡nqrwpoi mortal people Hb 7:8.

Indeed, aÓpoqnhØ/skw is employed for physical death, not spiritual mortification, in all of its uses in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 8:11; 9:15; 15:3, 22, 31–32, 36; 2 Corinthians 5:14–15; 6:9). Paul would “die daily” because he he was “in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft” (2 Corinthians 11:23); he and his companions could testify that they were “as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, [yet], behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed” (2 Corinthians 6:9). They could declare: “For [Christ’s] sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter” (Romans 8:36). They endured tremendous “tribulation . . . sufferings . . . [and] afflict[ion],” so that on occasion the Apostle and his missionary team were “pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life . . .[and] we had the sentence of death in ourselves” (2 Corinthians 1:3-11).

Nonetheless, while Paul’s “I die daily” is certainly a reference to physical death, not spiritual mortification, because “we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake,” such physical persecution and danger resulted in the spiritual “life also of Jesus [being] made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). The Apostle and his companions could testify that “as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5).

[43]          “Original sin is to be distinguished from indwelling sin. The latter is the remainder of original sin in the regenerate. Its workings are described in Romans 7:14-8:27. . . . It is not, like original sin, a dominant and increasing principle in the believer, but a subjugated and diminishing one. Indwelling sin is the minuendo movement of sin. “It hath a dying fall.” Original sin is the crescendo movement. ‘Original sin does not remain in the same manner after regeneration as it remained before; for there are two remarkable differences. In the unregenerate, it occupies all the faculties of the soul peaceably, and rules in their mind,

will, and affections; but in the regenerate, it neither dwells peaceably, because grace from above is infused into them, which daily opposes this disease, and more and more expels it from every faculty of the soul; nor does it rule over them, because grace prevailing and predominating restrains it and sends it as it were under the yoke. The other difference is, that in the unregenerate it has the guilt of eternal death annexed to it; but in the regenerate it is absolved from this fruit, for the sake of Christ the mediator.’ (Davenant: Justification, XV). . . . Indwelling sin is denominated ‘the law in (not of) the members,’ Romans 7:23; original sin is denominated ‘the law of sin and death,’ Romans 8:2” (pg. 33, Chapter 5, “Original Sin,” Dogmatic Theology: Anthropology, William G. T. Shedd).

[44]            God is the subject of the passive participle “strengthened” (dunamou/menoi, 1:11a). He strengthens believers spiritually “according to his glorious power” (1:11b), with the result that they act differently (1:11c-12).

[45]            “Some have the mistaken notion that sanctification consists merely in the drawing out of the new life, implanted in the soul by regeneration, in a persuasive way by presenting motives to the will. But this is not true. It consists fundamentally and primarily in a divine operation in the soul, whereby the holy disposition born in regeneration is strengthened and its holy exercises are increased. It is essentially a work of God, though in so far as He employs means, man can and is expected to cooperate by the proper use of these means. . . . It should never be represented as a merely natural process in the spiritual development of man, nor brought down to the level of a mere human achievement, as is done in a great deal of modern liberal theology. . . . When it is said that man takes part in the work of sanctification, this does not mean that man is an independent agent in the work, so as to make it partly the work of God and partly the work of man; but merely, that God effects the work in part through the instrumentality of man as a rational being, by requiring of him prayerful and intelligent cooperation with the Spirit. . . . [T]he believer must be diligent in the employment of the means at his command for the moral and spiritual improvement of his life, Micah 6:8; John 15:2, 8, 16; Romans 8:12, 13; 12:1-2,17; Galatians 6:7-8, 15. . . . [I]t is necessary to stress the fact over and over again that sanctification is the fruit of justification, that the former is simply impossible without the latter, and that both are the fruits of the grace of God in the redemption of sinners. Though man is privileged to cooperate with the Spirit of God, he can do this only in virtue of the strength which the Spirit imparts to him from day to day. The spiritual development of man is not a human achievement, but a work of divine grace. Man deserves no credit whatsoever for that which he contributes to it instrumentally. . . . [S]anctification takes place in the subconcious life . . . effected by the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit . . . [and] as a work in the concious life of believers it is wrought by several means, which the Holy Spirit employs.” (pg. 532-535, Systematic Theology, Berkhof).

[46]           Practical Christianity, chap. 7, pgs. 214-216. Elec. acc. AGES Digital Library, Christian Library Series vol. 8, Arthur Pink Collection. Rio, WI: 2006. Note that although Pink is specifically explaining Romans 8:13, (“if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”), the ethically sinful flesh is the matter of discussion in both 8:13 and 6:6.

[47]            “Sanctification . . . is carried forward by the influence of the Holy Spirit and of Christian truth upon the hearts of believers. . . . [John 17:17] ascribes the work of sanctification to God acting by his Spirit, but recognizes the Word of God as the element in which the work is to be accomplished. Accordingly believers are sanctified, not by the Spirit dwelling alone in the soul, and cleansing by his simple energy the susceptibilities and affections, regarded as the springs of moral life, but by the Spirit dwelling in the soul, and disposing it to seek and welcome the truth as it is in Jesus, by the Spirit revealing through the Word the things of Christ to the mind and heart. . . . “The words which I have spoken to you, they are spirit and are life.’ . . . [T]he work of the Spirit in sanctification . . . [involves] opening the heart to receive that truth, in helping it recall the part of that truth which is most needed at any given moment for the soul’s good, in moving it to plead with God for holy impulse to do his will, and in giving by direct action and the power of suggested truth that impulse to service” (pgs. 133-135, Doctrine of the Higher Christian Life Compared With the Teaching of the Holy Scriptures, Alvah Hovey).

[48]           Each of the references in Psalm 119 to the word quicken involve the verb hyj in the Piel with a singular suffix (“me”). Compare the uses of the Qal and Piel in 2 Kings 7:4 for physical life: “If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live [hY‰yVj`In …wn∞U¥yAj◊y_MIa]; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”

[49]          11 kai« aujto/ß e¶dwke tou\ß me«n aÓposto/louß, tou\ß de« profh/taß, tou\ß de« eujaggelista¿ß, tou\ß de« poime÷naß kai« didaska¿louß 12 pro\ß to\n katartismo\n tw◊n aJgi÷wn, ei˙ß e¶rgon diakoni÷aß, ei˙ß oi˙kodomh/n touv sw¿matoß touv Cristouv: 13 me÷cri katanth/swmen oi˚ pa¿nteß ei˙ß th\n e˚no/thta thvß pi÷stewß kai« thvß e˙pignw¿sewß touv ui˚ouv touv Qeouv, ei˙ß a‡ndra te÷leion, ei˙ß me÷tron hJliki÷aß touv plhrw¿matoß touv Cristouv: 14 iºna mhke÷ti w°men nh/pioi, kludwnizo/menoi kai« perifero/menoi panti« aÓne÷mwˆ thvß didaskali÷aß, e˙n thØv kubei÷aˆ tw◊n aÓnqrw¿pwn, e˙n panourgi÷aˆ, pro\ß th\n meqodei÷an thvß pla¿nhß: 15 aÓlhqeu/onteß de« e˙n aÓga¿phØ aujxh/swmen ei˙ß aujto\n ta» pa¿nta, o¢ß e˙stin hJ kefalh/, oJ Cristo/ß, 16 e˙x ou∞ pa◊n to\ sw◊ma sunarmologou/menon kai« sumbibazo/menon dia» pa¿shß aJfhvß thvß e˙picorhgi÷aß, kat∆ e˙ne÷rgeian e˙n me÷trwˆ e˚no\ß e˚ka¿stou me÷rouß, th\n au¡xhsin touv sw¿matoß poieitai ei˙ß oi˙kodomh/n e˚autouv e˙n aÓga¿phØ.

[50]           “All [the] loss [from the fall of Adam] is redemptively restored, and more than restored, in Christ, the true Image, in whom man’s full stature is achieved and his eternal destiny secured, and to whose image the redeemed are being progressively conformed until at last they are brought to ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,’ which is the perfection of their humanity (Ephesians 4:12f.; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Jude 24; 1 John 3:2-3; 1 Peter 5:10)” (pg. 113, The True Image, Philip E. Hughes).

[51]           The verb aujxa¿nw is used for physical growth in Matthew 6:28 (“lilies of the field . . . grow”); 13:31-32 (“a grain of mustard seed . . . when it is grown . . . it . . . becometh a tree”; Luke 1:80 (“the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit”); 2:40 (“the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”); 12:27 (“the lilies . . . grow”); 13:19 (“a grain of mustand seed . . . grew”). The verb is also used for population growth (“the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,” Acts 7:17), for the spread of the Word of God as people are converted, Christians grow, and new churches are established and built up (Acts 6:7; 12:24); in these ways “the word of God gr[ows] and multiplie[s]” (Acts 12:24), and for the increase in Christ’s ministry as John the Baptist’s preparatory work faded into the background in comparison (John 3:30).

[52]           1 Peter 2:2 reads, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (wJß aÓrtige÷nnhta bre÷fh, to\ logiko\n a‡dolon ga¿la e˙pipoqh/sate, iºna e˙n aujtwˆ◊ aujxhqhvte). While all believers, even very mature ones, are to desire the milk of the word in the same way that newborn babes desire milk, 1 Peter 2:2 nonetheless provides some support for the image of spiritual growth as development from infancy to mature adulthood, since many similar texts with wJß in 1 Peter do not just make an analogy (“in the way infants desire milk, so desire the Word”) but describe the actual nature of Peter’s audience. Thus, note: “as obedient children [wJß te÷kna uJpakohvß] . . . be ye holy” (1 Peter 1:14-15); “ye also, as lively stones, are built up” (kai« aujtoi« wJß li÷qoi zw◊nteß oi˙kodomei√sqe oi•koß pneumatiko/ß, 1 Peter 2:5); “Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts” (∆Agaphtoi÷, parakalw◊ wJß paroi÷kouß kai« parepidh/mouß, aÓpe÷cesqai tw◊n sarkikw◊n e˙piqumiw◊n, 1 Peter 2:11); “ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men . . . as free, and . . . as the servants of God” (fimouvn th\n tw◊n aÓfro/nwn aÓnqrw¿pwn aÓgnwsi÷an . . . wJß e˙leu/qeroi . . . wJß douvloi Qeouv, 1 Peter 2:15-16). While every construction with wJß does not function in this way in the epistle (e. g., 1 Peter 3:6-7), it is reasonable to conclude that those in Peter’s audience who were newly born again (1 Peter 1:23) were to desire the Word because they were newborn babes (1 Peter 2:2) without excluding the fact that all believers are to desire Scripture in the same manner. (wJß is found in 1 Peter in 1:14, 19, 24; 2:2, 5, 11-14, 16, 25; 3:6-7, 16; 4:10-12, 15-16, 19; 5:3, 8, 12).

                Furthermore, 1 Peter 2:2 is correctly renders to\ logiko\n as the milk “of the word”; cf. the comment on the verse in 1 Peter, Hermeneia, P. J. Achtemeir & E. J. Epp.

[53]            The relevant New Testament words are oi˙kodomh/ (Matthew 24:1; Mark 13:1–2; Romans 14:19; 15:2; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 14:3, 5, 12, 26; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 10:8; 12:19; 13:10; Ephesians 2:21; 4:12, 16, 29), oi˙kodomi÷a (1 Timothy 1:4), oi˙kodome÷w (Matthew 7:24, 26; 16:18; 21:33, 42; 23:29; 26:61; 27:40; Mark 12:1, 10; 14:58; 15:29; Luke 4:29; 6:48–49; 7:5; 11:47–48; 12:18; 14:28, 30; 17:28; 20:17; John 2:20; Acts 4:11; 7:47, 49; 9:31; Romans 15:20; 1 Corinthians 8:1, 10; 10:23; 14:4, 17; Galatians 2:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Peter 2:5, 7), aÓnoikodome÷w (Acts 15:16), e˙poikodome÷w (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 3:10, 12, 14; Ephesians 2:20; Colossians 2:7; Jude 20), and sunoikodome÷w (Ephesians 2:22). The word oi˙kodo/moß is in the critical Greek text in Acts 4:11, but it is not found in the preserved Word of God. The New Testament texts where this word group is employed in a manner that relates to spiritual building are: Matthew 16:18; Acts 9:31; 15:16; 20:32; Romans 14:19; 15:2, 20; 1 Corinthians 3:9–10, 12, 14; 8:1, 10; 10:23; 14:3–5, 12, 17, 26; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 10:8; 12:19; 13:10; Galatians 2:18; Ephesians 2:20–22; 4:12, 16, 29; Colossians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Peter 2:5, 7; Jude 20.

[54]            The foundation word group (qeme÷lioß, qeme÷lion, qemelio/w) supports the metaphor for sanctification as the construction of a building. A literal building had a literal foundation (qeme÷lioß), as cities and walls, and even the earth, have foundations (Hebrews 11:10; Revelation 21:14, 19; Hebrews 1:10). The Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel are the enduring foundation upon which the believer’s justification, sanctification, and glorification rest (Luke 6:48-49; Matthew 7:25), and the Lord Jesus is the foundation of the church as well (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; note also Romans 15:20). The foundation metaphor is also employed in Scripture in association with other spiritual truths upon which other subsequent or higher level superstructures are “built” (Luke 14:29; 1 Timothy 6:19; 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 6:1; 11:10); the description of the apostles and prophets, the vehicle for the inspiration of the Scriptures, as a foundation fits within such a category of usage (Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14, 19). Furthermore, sanctification leads the believer to be more firmly “founded” or established; his building, which was permanently settled upon its foundation at regeneration (note the perfect and pluperfect tenses for qeme÷liow in Matthew 7:25; Luke 6:48; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:23), is made progressively more stable and firm by God (1 Peter 5:10), so that both the Christian individually and the corporate assembly of the regenerate grows less liable to fall into sin or false doctrine (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:23; 1 Peter 5:10).

                The description of Christ as the “chief corner stone” (aÓkrogwniai√oß, Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6) and “head of the corner” (kefalh\ gwni÷aß, Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7; cf. Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste,” :vy`IjÎy añøl Ny™ImSaA;m`Ah d$D;s…wm d∞Ds…wm ‹tårVqˆy t§A…nIÚp NAj%O;b NRb∞Ra NRb¡Da Nwäø¥yIxV;b d¶A;sˆy y¢In◊nIh hYˆwh◊y y∞DnOdSa ‹rAmDa hôO;k N#EkDl, dia» touvto ou¢twß le÷gei ku/rioß i˙dou\ e˙gw» e˙mbalw◊ ei˙ß ta» qeme÷lia Siwn li÷qon polutelhv e˙klekto\n aÓkrogwniai√on e¶ntimon ei˙ß ta» qeme÷lia aujthvß kai« oJ pisteu/wn e˙p∆ aujtw◊ˆ ouj mh\ kataiscunqhvØ.) also develops the “building” metaphor. The Son of God is the ultimate foundation without whom no spiritual building of Christian or congregation is possible, but founded upon Him, the believer will not be ashamed by having to flee in haste or alarm from God’s coming judgment, but will be delivered as he waits in faith on God and the Messiah (Isaiah 8:17; 25:9; 26:8; 30:15, 18; 32:17; 33:2; cf. the Targum on Isaiah 28:16: :N…wo◊zoådzˆy aDl a∂qDo yEtyEmVb NyElIaIb …wnyImyEh√d aÎyåqyîdAx◊w aÎyIb◊n rAmVa hy´nˆnsjAa◊w hy´nyIpVqAtIa NDtVmyEa◊w rDbyˆg PyIqAt KAlAm KAlAm NOwyIxVb y´nAmVm aÎnVaDh MyIhølVa ywy rAmVa NÎndIk NyEkVb). Note also Genesis 49:24; Psalm 118:22; Daniel 2:45; Zechariah 3:9. Along these lines, Christ is the pe÷tra, the Rock, the “bedrock or massive rock formatio[n]” (BDAG) upon which the individual believer and the church are founded (Matthew 7:24-25; 16:18; Luke 6:48; Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:8; cf. the literal use for bedrock in Matthew 27:51, 60; Mark 15:46; Luke 8:6, 13; Revelation 6:15-16). The word pe÷tra is specifically distinguished from pe÷troß oJ, a stone,” so that “[t]here is no example, in good authors, of pe÷tra in the sense of pe÷troß, a stone” (cf. pe÷tra & pe÷troß, Liddell-Scott). The metaphor for Christ as the aÓkrogwniai√oß alludes to the cornerstone in the Jewish Temple (cf. Louw-Nida, 7.44; the lexicon also correctly indicates that the aÓkrogwniai√oß does not refer to a capstone, but a cornerstone), thus associating the building and foundation metaphors with the structure of the Jewish Temple, which therefore provides background for the temple building metaphor for the individual believer (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 1 Peter 2:5) and for the church (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 1 Timothy 3:15; cf. also 1 Kings 6:37; 7:12; 1 Chronicles 22:2; Ezra 3:9; Matthew 12:4; Hebrews 10:21; 1 Peter 4:17).

                Associated with the foundation and building metaphors in sanctification is the root metaphor (note the connection in both texts with rJizo/w; “being rooted and grounded in love,” e˙n aÓga¿phØ e˙rrizwme÷noi kai« teqemeliwme÷noi, Ephesians 3:17; “rooted and built up in him,” e˙rrizwme÷noi kai« e˙poikodomou/menoi e˙n aujtwˆ◊, Colossians 2:7. A proper root (rJi÷za)—Christ Himself, savingly received by repentant faith—is the essential prerequisite to sanctification, and all who possess this root produce spiritual fruit, while all those rooted in anything else (cf. 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 12:15) will be damned (Matthew 3:10; 13:6, 21; Mark 4:6, 17; Luke 3:9, 8:13; Romans 11:16-18).

[55]            Qeouv oi˙kodomh/ e˙ste.

[56]            The source and production ideas in the Qeouv oi˙kodomh/ of 1 Corinthians 3:9 are clearly validated by the context of 3:5-15; “God . . . giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7, oJ Qeo\ß hu¡xanen/oJ aujxa¿nwn Qeo/ß), and the congregation is God’s field which He causes to grow (Qeouv gew¿rgion), as the ultimate Worker of spiritual growth who uses human instruments as coworkers (Qeouv . . . sunergoi÷).

[57]            The rebuilding discussed in Acts 15:16-17 will take place in the Millennial kingdom when the Lord rebuilds the institutions of the physical Jewish worship, Amos 9:11-12, yet in both the Old Testament and New Testament texts it is evident that the restoration is not merely physical, but also spiritual.

                The verb aÓnorqo/w, employedin Acts 15:16 for the setting up of the tabernacle of David, can also be used metaphorically in connection with Christian growth; cf. Hebrews 12:12 & the literal use, howbeit with spiritual implications, in Luke 13:13, and the spiritual use of ojrqo/ß in Hebrews 12:13, with a corresponding literal use with spiritual implications in Acts 14:10. Note also ojrqw◊ß in Luke 20:21 (elsewhere in the NT in Mark 7:35; Luke 7:43; 10:28), ojrqopode÷w in Galatians 2:14, and even ojrqotome÷w in 2 Timothy 2:15.

[58]            Note, however, that both the relationship to the Son and to the Spirit use the same preposition; the church experiences e˙poikodome÷w both e˙n Kuri÷wˆ and e˙n Pneu/mati.

[59]            Note the agreement in case, number, and gender in Acts 20:32’s twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊ kai« twˆ◊ lo/gwˆ thvß ca¿ritoß aujtouv, twˆ◊ duname÷nwˆ e˙poikodomhvsai.

[60]            The following words are included in this group (related NT forms that are not employed in connection with progressive sanctification are excluded):  sthri÷zw (Luke 9:51; 16:26; 22:32; Romans 1:11; 16:25; 1 Thessalonians 3:2, 13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 3:3; James 5:8; 1 Peter 5:10; 2 Peter 1:12; Revelation 3:2); e˙pisthri÷zw (Acts 14:22; 15:32, 41; 18:23); stereo/w (Acts 3:7, 16; 16:5); stereo/ß (2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 5:12, 14; 1 Peter 5:9); stere÷wma (Colossians 2:5); sthrigmo/ß (2 Peter 3:17); sqeno/w (1 Peter 5:10); dunamo/w (Colossians 1:11); e˙ndunamo/w (Acts 9:22; Romans 4:20; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:13; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 2:1; 4:17; Hebrews 11:34); bebaio/w (Mark 16:20; Romans 15:8; 1 Corinthians 1:6, 8; 2 Corinthians 1:21; Colossians 2:7; Hebrews 2:3; 13:9).

                The Old Testament provides some evidence for progressive sanctification as strengthening. Psalm 119:28 reads: “My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me (yˆn#Em◊¥yåq; LXX bebai÷wso/n me) according unto thy word.” While the text unquestionably alludes to physical strengthening, spiritual refreshing is not absent. However, no other texts with Mwqclearly speak of spiritual strengthening, although the sense of spiritual strengthening in Psalm 119:28 may be illuminated by the uses of Mwq in Deuteronomy 27:26; 28:9; 1 Kings 11:14, 23; Hosea 6:2; Job 4:4. The verb qzj is used for God strengthening His people to accomplish specific tasks for His glory and for being courageous for His sake and in His cause, as well as for the people of God strengthening one another for specific spiritual tasks (cf. Numbers 13:20; Deuteronomy 1:38; 3:28; 11:8; 31:6–7, 23; Joshua 1:6–7, 9, 18; 10:25; 23:6; Judges 20:22; 1 Samuel 23:16; 30:6; 1 Kings 2:2; Isaiah 35:3–4; Ezekiel 34:4, 16; Zechariah 8:9, 13; Psalm 27:14; 31:24; Job 4:3; Ezra 6:22; 7:28; 10:4; Nehemiah 2:18; 6:9; 10:29; 1 Chronicles 22:13; 28:10, 20; 29:12; 2 Chronicles 1:1; 15:7–8; 19:11; 31:4; 32:7; 35:2). The believer is made courageous and strong “to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses . . . [and] turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” (Joshua 23:6). A few references refer to the believer himself being strengthened, rather than his possessing strength to perform a specific task: “And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened [David’s] hand in God” (1 Samuel 23:16). “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself [q∞EΩzAjVtˆ¥yÅw] in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). See also Isaiah 35:4; Ezekiel 34:4, 6. The verb qzj is used in many other ways associated with strength but not with sanctification (e. g., Genesis 48:2). Xma is also used at times in a way associated with sanctification (Deuteronomy 3:28; 31:6–7, 23; Joshua 1:6–7, 9, 18; 10:25; Isaiah 35:3; 41:10; Psalm 27:14; 31:25; Job 4:4; 1 Chronicles 22:13; 28:20; 2 Chronicles 32:7), and perhaps zOo (Isaiah 45:24; Psalm 138:3), h∂r…wb◊…g (Micah 3:8; Daniel 2:23), and AjO;k (1 Chronicles 26:8; Isaiah 40:29, 31; 41:1; Micah 3:8) are so used as well.

[61]            “I can do all things (pa¿nta i˙scu/w). Old verb to have strength (i˙scu/ß). In him that strengtheneth me (e˙n twˆ◊ e˙ndunamouvnti÷ me). Late and rare verb (in LXX) from adjective e˙ndu/namoß (e˙n, du/namiß). Causative verb to empower, to pour power into one. See [the] same phrase in 1 Timothy 1:12 twˆ◊ e˙ndunamw¿santi÷ me (aorist tense here). Paul has such strength so long as Jesus keeps on putting power (du/namiß) into him” (Robertson’s Word Pictures, Philippians 4:13).

[62]            God’s strengthening brings His power or ability for service and spiritual growth. This fact is verified in the i˙scu/w word group: i˙scu/w (Matthew 5:13; 8:28; 9:12; 26:40; Mark 2:17; 5:4; 9:18; 14:37; Luke 6:48; 8:43; 13:24; 14:6, 29–30; 16:3; 20:26; John 21:6; Acts 6:10; 15:10; 19:16, 20; 25:7; 27:16; Galatians 5:6; 6:15; Philippians 4:13; Hebrews 9:17; James 5:16; Revelation 12:8); e˙xiscu/w (Ephesians 3:18); katiscu/w (Matthew 16:18; Luke 23:23); and i˙scu/ß (Mark 12:30, 33; Luke 10:27; Ephesians 1:19; 6:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 2:11; Revelation 5:12; 7:12; 18:2). Texts that show the relationship between strengthening and power or ability include 1 Peter 4:11; Ephesians 1:19; 6:10; Galatians 5:6; Philippians 4:13; cf. Matthew 16:18. Similar truth is verified in the du/namai/dunato/ß/ du/namiß word group; i. e., John 15:4-5; Ephesians 6:11; Jude 24 (du/namai); Romans 14:4; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 10:4; 2 Timothy 1:12 (dunato/ß); Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 1:19; 3:16; Colossians 1:11; 1:29; 2 Peter 1:3 (du/namiß).

[63]            Texts in the weakening word group are: aÓsqene÷w (Matthew 10:8; 25:36; Mark 6:56; Luke 4:40; 7:10; 9:2; John 4:46; 5:3, 7; 6:2; 11:1–3, 6; Acts 9:37; 19:12; 20:35; Romans 4:19; 8:3; 14:1–2, 21; 1 Corinthians 8:9, 11–12; 2 Corinthians 11:21, 29; 12:10; 13:3–4, 9; Philippians 2:26–27; 2 Timothy 4:20; James 5:14); aÓsqenh/ß (Matthew 25:39, 43–44; 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 10:9; Acts 4:9; 5:15–16; Romans 5:6; 1 Corinthians 1:25, 27; 4:10; 8:7, 10; 9:22; 11:30; 12:22; 2 Corinthians 10:10; Galatians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 7:18; 1 Peter 3:7); aÓsqe÷nhma (Romans 15:1); and aÓsqe÷neia (Matthew 8:17; Luke 5:15; 8:2; 13:11–12; John 5:5; 11:4; Acts 28:9; Romans 6:19; 8:26; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 15:43; 2 Corinthians 11:30; 12:5, 9–10; 13:4; Galatians 4:13; 1 Timothy 5:23; Hebrews 4:15; 5:2; 7:28; 11:34).

Believers can grow spiritually weaker and backslide, as they can decay from states of spiritual quickening or liveliness, transformation, and renewal, because the believer’s indwelling sin remains within him a tendency to ever greater evil, as in the unregenerate their utter domination by the flesh leads them to ever greater iniquity and corruption of nature (cf. 2 Timothy 3:13). The supernatural power of sanctifying grace working within the saint by the Holy Spirit encounters this fleshly indwelling resistance to holiness that remains within all believers until glorification, and apart from the unceasing supply of spiritual strength given the saint by God, his spiritual life would decay and indeed even be lost, as the natural end result of both physical and spiritual sickness is death (cf. Revelation 3:2; Acts 9:37; 1 Corinthians 11:30; Philippians 2:26-27), in contrast to the natural end of spiritual strengthening, perfection (2 Corinthians 13:9). While spiritual weakness would, left to itself, lead to spritual death, the fact of the believer’s eternal security and the effectual character of the High Priestly ministry of Christ (cf. John 17:8, 17, 24; Luke 22:32; Hebrews 4:15) guarantee that neither spiritual life during the Christian’s earthly pilgrimage (John 10:27) nor life with God in the eternal state (John 10:28-30) are ever forfeited, as God’s faithfulness prevents all of His people from ever losing the entirety of their sanctification or forfeiting a place in heaven.

[64]            One is consequentely not surprised by the existence and use of comparative forms of the adjective aÓsqenh/ß, 1 Corinthians 12:22; 1 Peter 3:7.

[65]            Notice that in each of these pericopes the power of Christ proved greater than the human impotence. The Lord Jesus has the power to overcome all spiritual and physical inability.

[66]           The words in this group are morfo/w, morfh/, mo/rfwsiß, su/mmorfoß, summorfo/w, and metamorfo/w. The noun mo/rfwsiß, which means “the state of being formally structured, embodiment, formulation, form,” (BDAG), is not specifically used for progressive sanctification; it appears twice in the New Testament, once in reference to “the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law” and once to “a form of godliness” (paideuth\n aÓfro/nwn, dida¿skalon nhpi÷wn, e¶conta th\n mo/rfwsin thvß gnw¿sewß kai« thvß aÓlhqei÷aß e˙n twˆ◊ no/mwˆ:, Romans 2:20; e¶conteß mo/rfwsin eujsebei÷aß, th\n de« du/namin aujthvß hjrnhme÷noi: kai« tou/touß aÓpotre÷pou, 2 Timothy 3:5).

[67]          morfo/w(morfh/) 1 aor. ptc. morfw¿santeß (Just., A I, 9, 1). Pass.: aor. e˙morfw¿qhn; pf. ptc. memorfwme÷noß (Philo, Joseph.) (Aratus, Phaen. 375; Nilus: Anth. Pal. 1, 33, 1; Is 44:13 Q in margin and Aq.; Philo, Plant. 3; Ps.-Philo, De Mundo 13; SibOr 4, 182; Jos., Ant. 15, 329; Just., A I, 5, 4 touv lo/gou morfwqe÷ntoß kai« aÓnqrw¿pou genome÷nou; Ath., R. 3 p. 51, 16) to form, shape act. PtK 2 p. 14, 13. Pass. take on form, be formed (Theophr., CP 5, 6, 7; Diod. S. 3, 51, 3) in imagery as in the formation of an embryo (Galen XIX p. 181 K. e¶mbrua memorfwme÷na; Philo, Spec. Leg. 3, 117) me÷criß ou∞ morfwqhvØ Cristo\ß e˙n uJmi√n until Christ is formed in you Gal 4:19 (RHermann, TLZ 80, ’55, 713–26).—DELG s.v. morfh/. M-M. TW. (BDAG)

[68]          My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, tekni÷a mou, ou§ß pa¿lin wÓdi÷nw, a‡criß ou∞ morfwqhØv Cristo\ß e˙n uJmi√n. Note that “little children” (tekni÷on) is employed for younger Christians in 1 John 2:12-14.

[69]          morfh/, hvß f: the nature or character of something, with emphasis upon both the internal and external form — ‘nature, character.’ o§ß e˙n morfhvØ qeouv uJpa¿rcwn ‘he always had the very nature of God’ Php 2:6; morfh\n dou/lou labw¿n ‘he took on the nature of a servant’ Php 2:7. (Louw-Nida)

[70]          After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. Meta» de« tauvta dusi«n e˙x aujtw◊n peripatouvsin e˙fanerw¿qh e˙n e˚te÷raˆ morfhØv, poreuome÷noiß ei˙ß aÓgro/n.

[71]          6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

6 o§ß e˙n morfhØv Qeouv uJpa¿rcwn, oujc aJrpagmo\n hJgh/sato to\ ei•nai i¶sa Qewˆ◊, 7 aÓll∆ e˚auto\n e˙ke÷nwse, morfh\n dou/lou labw»n, e˙n oJmoiw¿mati aÓnqrw¿pwn geno/menoß:

[72]          su/mmorfoß, on ([Ps.-Lucian,] Amor. 39 al.) pert. to having a similar form, nature, or style, similar in form tino/ß as or to someth. (s. touv qana¿tou aujtouv Orig., C. Cels. 2, 69, 16; B-D-F §182, 1; Rob. 504; 528) su/mm. thvß ei˙ko/noß touv ui˚ouv aujtouv like his Son in form or appearance Ro 8:29 (JKürzinger, BZ 2, ’58, 294–99). Also w. the dat. (Nicander [II BC], Ther. 321 ed. OSchneider [1856]; Heraclit. Sto. 77 p. 102, 12 s. trisi« qeoi√ß of Agamemnon; B-D-F §194, 2; Rob. 528) su/mm. tw◊ˆ sw¿mati thvß do/xhß aujtouv Phil 3:21.—DELG s.v. morfh/. TW.

Compare also:

summorfi÷zw (only in Christian wr. but=summorfo/w below) to cause to be similar in form or style to someth. else, grant or invest w. the same form as, pass. summorfi÷zesqai÷ tini be conformed to, take on the same form as tw◊ˆ qana¿twˆ aujtouv=the style of Christ’s death, i.e. to be like Christ in his death Phil 3:10 [a critical text variant—the Textus Receptus has summorfo/w].—DELG s.v. morfh/. M-M. TW.

summorfo/w ‘to give the same form’, pass. take on the same form (s. two prec. entries; Libanius, Descript. 30, 5 vol. VIII 542, 10 F.; Menand. Protector [VI AD]: HGM II p. 67, 8) Phil 3:10 [TR]—DELG s.v. morfh/. (BDAG)

[73]          That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; touv gnw◊nai aujto/n, kai« th\n du/namin thvß aÓnasta¿sewß aujtouv, kai« th\n koinwni÷an tw◊n paqhma¿twn aujtouv, summorfou/menoß twˆ◊ qana¿twˆ aujtouv. Note that summorfou/menoß is a present participle which in this text indicates a progressive being made conformable to Christ’s death, and that Philippians 3:10 records the only appearance of summorfo/w in the New Testament.

[74]          Paul makes a close connection between enduring physical suffering for Christ’s sake and spiritual growth. Note 2 Corinthians 4:10-11: “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. 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” (pa¿ntote th\n ne÷krwsin touv Kuri÷ou ∆Ihsouv e˙n twˆ◊ sw¿mati perife÷ronteß, iºna kai« hJ zwh\ touv ∆Ihsouv e˙n twˆ◊ sw¿mati hJmw◊n fanerwqhØv. aÓei« ga»r hJmei√ß oi˚ zw◊nteß ei˙ß qa¿naton paradido/meqa dia» ∆Ihsouvn, iºna kai« hJ zwh\ touv ∆Ihsouv fanerwqhØv e˙n thØv qnhthØv sarki« hJmw◊n.). One’s soul and spirit become more like Christ as one becomes bodily like Him through enduring physical suffering for His name’s sake.

[75]          Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. o§ß metaschmati÷sei to\ sw◊ma thvß tapeinw¿sewß hJmw◊n, ei˙ß to\ gene÷sqai aujto\ su/mmorfon twˆ◊ sw¿mati thvß do/xhß aujtouv, kata» th\n e˙ne÷rgeian touv du/nasqai aujto\n kai« uJpota¿xai e˚autwˆ◊ ta» pa¿nta.

Philippians 3:21 and Romans 8:29 are the only New Testament references to the word su/mmorfoß.

[76]           However, the references to Christ (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2) employ the aorist tense, since the transformation was instantaneous, while the references to the transformation of the believer (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18) employ the present tense, since their change is progressive.

[77]           Trench has some valuable comments on the distinction between suschmati÷zw and metamorfo/w in Romans 12:2, and upon the morfh/ group in general:

[The] words [morfh/ & schvma] are none of them of frequent recurrence in the N. T., morfh/ occurring there only [thrice] (Mark xvi. 12; Phil. ii. [6-7]); but compare mo/rfwsiß (Rom. ii. 20; 2 Tim. iii. 5); schvma not oftener (1 Cor. vii. 31; Phil. ii. 8)[.] . . . Morfh/ is ‘form,’ ‘forma,’ ‘gestalt’; schvma is ‘fashion,’ ‘habitus,’ ‘figur’; i˙de÷a, ‘appearance,’ ‘species,’ ‘erscheinung.’ [These words], which, occur not unfrequently together (Plutarch, Symp. [Page 262] viii.2.3), are objective; for the ‘form’ and the ‘fashion’ of a thing would exist, were it alone in the universe, and whether there were any to behold it or no. . . .

                We may best study the distinction between morfh/ and schvma, and at the same time estimate its importance, by aid of that great doctrinal passage (Phil. ii. 6-8), in which St. Paul speaks of the Eternal Word before his Incarnation as subsisting “in the form of God” (e˙n morfhØv qeouvuJpa¿rcwn), as assuming at his Incarnation “the form of a servant” (morfh\n dou/lou labw¿n), and after his Incarnation and during his walk upon earth as “being found in fashion as a man” (sch/mati euJreqei«ß wJß a‡nqrwpoß). The Fathers were wont to urge the first phrase, e˙n morfhØv QeouvuJpa¿rcwn, against the Arians (thus Hilary, De Trin. viii. 45; Ambrose, Ep. 46; Gregory of Nyssa, Con. Eunom. 4); and the Lutherans did the same against the Socinians, as a ‘dictum probans’ of the absolute divinity of the Son of God; that is, morfh/ for them was here equivalent to oujsi÷a or fu/siß. . . . Doubtless there does lie in the words a proof of the divinity of Christ, but this implicitly and not explicitly. Morfh/ is not oujsi÷a: at the same time none could be e˙n morfhØvqeouv who was not God; as is well put by Bengel: ‘Forma Dei non est natura, divina, sed tamen is qui in forma, Dei extabat, Deus est;’ and this because morfh/, like the Latin ‘forma,’ the German ‘gestalt,’ signifies the form as it is the utterance of the inner life; not ‘being,’ but ‘mode of being,’ or better, ‘mode of existence’; and only God could have the mode of existence of God. But He who had thus been from eternity e˙n morfhØv qeouv (John xvii. 5), took at his Incarnation morfh\n dou/lou. The verity of his Incarnation is herein implied; there was nothing docetic, nothing phantastic about it. His manner of existence was now that of a douvloß, that is, of a douvloß touvqeouv: for in the midst of all our Lord’s humiliations He was never a douvloß aÓnqrw¿pwn. Their dia¿konoß He may have been, and from time to time eminently was (John xiii. 4, 5; Matt. xx. 28); this was part of his tapei÷nwsiß mentioned in the next verse; but their douvloß never; they, on the contrary, his. It was with respect of God He so emptied Himself of his glory, that, from that manner of existence in which He thought it not robbery to be equal with God, He became his servant.

                The next clause, “and being found in fashion (sch/mati) as a man,” is very instructive for the distinguishing of schvma from morfh/. The verity of the Son’s Incarnation was expressed, as we have seen, in the morfh\n dou/loulabw¿n. These words which follow do but declare the outward facts which came under the knowledge of his fellow-men, with therefore an emphasis on euJreqei÷ß: He was by men found in fashion as a man, the schvma here signifying his whole outward presentation, as Bengel puts it well: ‘schvma, habitus, cultus, vestitus, victus, gestus, sermones et actiones.’ In none of these did there appear any difference between Him and the other children of men. This superficial character of schvma appears in its association with such words as crw◊ma (Plato, Gorg. 20; Theoetet. 163b) and uJpografh/ (Legg. v. 737 d); as in the definition of it which Plutarch gives (De Plac. Phil. 14): e˙sti«n e˙pifa¿neiakai« perigrafh\ kia» pe÷raß sw¿matoß. The two words are used in an instructive antithesis by Justin Martyr (1 Apol. 9).

                The distinction between them comes out very clearly in the compound verbs metaschmati÷zein and metamorfouvn. Thus if I were to change a Dutch garden into an Italian, this would be metaschmatismo/ß: but if I were to transform a garden into something wholly different; as into a city, this would be metamo/rfwsiß. It is possible for Satan metaschmati÷zein himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. xi. 14); he can take the whole outward semblance of such. But to any such change of his it would be impossible to apply the metamorfouvsqai: for this would imply a change not external but internal, not of accidents but of essence, which lies quite beyond his power. How fine and subtle is the variation of words at Rom. xii. 2[.] . . . The Authorized Version is the first which uses ‘transformed’ here; Wiclif and the Rheims, both following closely the Vulgate, ‘transfigured,’ and the intermediate Reformed Versions, ‘changed into the fashion of.’ . . . ‘Do not fall in,’says the Apostle, ‘with the fleeting fashions of this world, nor be yourselves fashioned to them (mh\ suschmati÷zesqe), but undergo a deep abiding change (aÓlla» metamorfouvsqe) by the renewing of your mind, such as the Spirit of God alone can work in you’ (cf. 2 Cor. iii. 18). Theodoret, commenting on this verse, calls particular attention to this variation of the word used, a variation which it would task the highest skill of the English scholar adequately to reproduce in his own language. Among much else which is interesting, he says: e˙di÷dasken o¢son pro\ß ta» paro/ntathvß aÓrethvß to\ dia¿foron: tauvta ga»r e˙ka¿lese schvma, th\naÓreth\n de« morfh/n: hJ morfh\de« aÓlhqw◊n pragma¿twn shmantikh/,to\ de« schvma eujdia¿luton crhvma. . . . For the very different uses of one word and the other, see Plutarch, Quom. Adul. ab Amie. 7, where both occur.

                At the resurrection Christ shall transfigure (metaschmati÷sei) the bodies of his saints (Phil. iii. 21; cf. 1 Cor. xv. 53); on which statement Calov remarks, ‘Ille metaschmatismo/ß non substantialem mutationem, sed accidentalem, non ratione quidditatis corporis nostri, sed ratione qualitatum, salva quidditatis, importat:’ but the changes of heathen deities into wholly other shapes were metamorfw¿seiß. In the metaschmatismo/ß there is transition, but no absolute solution of continuity. The butterfly, prophetic type of man’s resurrection, is immeasurably more beautiful than the grub, yet has been duly unfolded from it; but when Proteus transforms himself into a flame, a wild beast, a running stream (Virgil, Georg. iv. 442), each of these disconnected with all that went before, there is here a change not of the schvma merely, but of the morfh/ (cf. Euripides, Hec. 1266; Plato, Locr. 104 e). When the Evangelist records that after the resurrection Christ appeared to his disciples e˙n e˚te÷raˆ morfhØv (Mark xvi. 12), the words intimate to us how vast the mysterious change to which his body had been submitted, even as they are in keeping with the metemorfw¿qh of Matt. xvii. 2; Mark ix. 2; the transformation upon the Mount being a prophetic anticipation of that which hereafter should be; compare Dan. iv. 33, where Nebuchadnezzar says of himself, hJmorfh/mou e˙pe÷streyen ei˙ß e˙me÷.

                The morfh/ then, it may be assumed, is of the essence of a thing. We cannot conceive the thing as apart from this its formality, to use ‘formality’ in the old logical sense; the schvma is its accident, having to do, not with the ‘quidditas,’ but the ‘qualitas,’ and, whatever changes it may undergo, leaving the ‘quidditas’ untouched, the thing itself essentially, or formally, the same as it was before; as one has said, morfh\fu/sewß schvma eºxewß. Thus schvmabasiliko/n (Lucian, Pisc. 35; cf. Sophocles, Antig. 1148) is the whole outward array and adornment of a monarch— diadem, tiara, sceptre, robe (cf. Lucian, Hermot. 86)—all which he might lay aside, and remain king notwithstanding. It in no sort belongs or adheres to the man as a part of himself. Thus Menander (Meineke, Fragm. Com. p.985):

                                                pra◊on kakouvrgo/ß schvm∆ uJpeiselqw»n aÓnh\r

                                                kekrumme÷nh kei√tai pagi«ß toi√ß plhsi÷on

Thus, too, the schvma touv kosmouv passes away (1 Cor. vii. 31), the image being here probably drawn from the shifting scenes of a theatre, but the ko/smoß itself abides; there is no te÷loß touv kosmouv, but only touv ai˙w¿noß, or tw◊n ai˙w¿nwn. For some valuable remarks on the distinction between morfh/ and schvma see The Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology, No. 7, pp. 113, 116, 121; and the same drawn out more fully by Bishop Lightfoot, their author, in his Commentary on the Philippians, pp. 125-131.

                The use in Latin of ‘forma’ and ‘figura,’ so far corresponds with those severally of morfh/ and schvma, that while ‘figura forme’ occurs not rarely (‘veterem formae servare figuram’; cf. Cicero, Nat. Deor. 32), ‘forma figurae never (see Doderlein, Latein. Syn. vol. iii. p. 87). Contrast too in English ‘deformed’ and ‘disfigured. ’ A hunchback is ‘deformed,’ a man that has been beaten about the face may be ‘disfigured’; the deformity is bound up in the very existence of the one; the disfigurement of the other may in a few days have quite passed away. In ‘transformed’ and ‘transfigured’ it is easy to recognize the same distinction.

                As Trench mentions, the morfh//schvma distinction is well set forth in Apology of Justin 1:9, Justin Martyr:

All∆ oujde« qusi÷aiß pollai√ß kai« plokai√ß aÓnqw◊n timw◊men ou§ß a‡nqrwpoi morfw¿santeß, kai« e˙n naoi√ß i˚dru/santeß, qeou\ß proswno/masan: e˙pei« a‡yuca kai« nekra» tauvta ginw¿skomen, kai« Qeouv morfh\n mh\ e¶conta, (ouj ga»r toiau/thn hJgou/meqa to\n Qeo\n e¶cein th\n morfh\n h¢n fasi÷ tineß ei˙ß timh\n memimhvsqai:) aÓll∆ e˙kei÷nwn tw◊n fane÷ntwn kakw◊n daimo/nwn kai« ojno/mata kai« sch/mata e¶cein. Ti÷ ga»r dei√ ei˙do/sin uJmi√n le÷gein, a± th\n u¢lhn oi˚ tecni√tai diatiqe÷asi, xe÷onteß kai« te÷mnonteß, kai« cwneu/onteß kai« tu/ptonteß; kai« e˙x aÓti÷mwn polla¿kiß skeuw◊n dia» te÷cnhß to\ schvma mo/non aÓlla¿xanteß kai« morfopoih/santeß, qeou\ß e˙ponoma¿zousin. ›Oper ouj mo/non a‡logon hJgou/meqa, aÓlla» kai« e˙f∆ u¢brei touv Qeouv gi÷nesqai, o§ß a‡rrhton do/xan kai« morfh\n e¶cwn, e˙pi« fqartoi√ß kai« deome÷noiß qerapei÷aß pra¿gmasin e˙ponoma¿zetai. Kai« o¢ti oi˚ tou/twn tecni√tai aÓselgei√ß te, kai« pa◊san kaki÷an, iºna mh\ katariqmw◊men, e¶cousin, aÓkribw◊ß e˙pi÷stasqe: kai« ta»ß e˚autw◊n paidi÷skaß sunergazome÷naß fqei÷rousin. ‹W thvß e˙mbronthsi÷aß, aÓnqrw¿pouß aÓkola¿stouß, qeou\ß ei˙ß to\ proskunei√sqai pla¿ssein le÷gesqai, kai« metapoiei√n: kai« tw◊n i˚erw◊n, e¶nqa aÓnati÷qentai, fu/lakaß toiou/touß kaqista¿nai: mh\ sunorw◊ntaß aÓqe÷miton kai« to\ noei√n h£ le÷gein aÓnqrw¿pouß qew◊n ei•nai fu/lakaß.

And neither do we honor with many sacrifices and garlands of flowers such deities as men have formed and set in shrines and called gods; since we see that these are soulless and dead, and have not the form [morphe] of God (for we do not consider that God has such a form [morphe] as some say that they imitate to His honor), but have the names and forms [schema] of those wicked demons which have appeared. For why need we tell you who already know, into what forms the craftsmen, carving and cutting, casting and hammering, fashion the materials? And often out of vessels of dishonor, by merely changing the form, and making an image of the requisite shape, they make what they call a god; which we consider not only senseless, but to be even insulting to God, who, having ineffable glory and form [morphe], thus gets His name attached to things that are corruptible, and require constant service. And that the artificers of these are both intemperate, and, not to enter into particulars, are practised in every vice, you very well know; even their own girls who work along with them they corrupt What infatuation! That dissolute men should be said to fashion and make gods for your worship, and that you should appoint such men the guardians of the temples where they are enshrined; not recognizing that it is unlawful even to think or say that men are the guardians of gods.

[78]           The believer “is progressing ‘from glory to glory’ as increasingly he is ‘transformed into the same image,’ that is to say, as his Christianity advances (2 Corinthians 3:18); for the glory of the Son is the glory of the [true] Image [of God]. The bond of union between [Christ as the] Glory [cf. James 2:1] and the Image is plainly set forth also in Hebrews 1:3, where the Son is in the same breath designated [‘the brightness of [God’s] glory’ and ‘the express image of his person]” (pg. 45, The True Image, Hughes).

[79]           The verb katoptri÷zw in 2 Corinthians 3:18 means to “look at something as in a mirror, contemplate something . . . the noun ka¿toptron is the most common term in the papyri for [a] mirror” (BDAG). The New Testament employs the related noun e¶soptron exclusively for the mirror of the Word (1 Corinthians 13:12; James 1:23).

[80]           Notice that proving “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2) is a result of the inward transformation wrought by the Spirit (metamorfouvsqe . . . ei˙ß to\ dokima¿zein uJma◊ß ti÷ to\ qe÷lhma touv Qeouv to\ aÓgaqo\n kai« euja¿reston kai« te÷leion).

[81]           Specifically, the verb katarti÷zw and the nouns kata¿rtisiß and katartismo/ß. Consider the definitions of the three words in BDAG:

katarti÷zwfut. katarti÷sw; 1 aor. kath/rtisa, mid. kathrtisa¿mhn, 2 sg. kathrti÷sw. Pass.: aor. kathrti÷sqhn LXX; pf. pass. kath/rtismai (aÓrti÷zw, ‘get ready, prepare’, s. next entry; Hdt. et al.; ins, pap, LXX; TestSol 5:12 H).

                1. to cause to be in a condition to function well, put in order, restore.

                a. restore to a former condition, put to rights (since Hdt. 5, 28; 106; Dionys. Hal. 3, 10) ti« someth. nets (by cleaning, mending, folding together) Mt 4:21; Mk 1:19 (cp. GWynne, Exp. 7th ser., 8, 1909, 282–85). Fig. k. tina¿ restore someone e˙n pneu/mati prauŒthtoß in a spirit of gentleness, i.e. in a gentle manner Gal 6:1. Pass. katarti÷zesqe mend your ways 2 Cor 13:11.

                b. put into proper condition (cp. Epict. 3, 20, 10 of a trainer who adjusts parts of the body), adjust, complete, make complete ti« someth. katarti÷sai ta» uJsterh/mata t. pi÷stewß uJmw◊n to fix up any deficiencies in your faith or to complete what is lacking in your faith 1 Th 3:10. tina¿ someone: uJma◊ß e˙n panti« aÓgaqw◊ˆ make you complete in every good thing Hb 13:21. kathrtisme÷noi e˙n tw◊ˆ aujtw◊ˆ noi«∂ kai« e˙n thvØ aujthvØ gnw¿mhØ adjusted / made complete in the same mind and the same conviction 1 Cor 1:10. e˙n mia◊ˆ uJpotaghvØ IEph 2:2. e˙n aÓkinh/twˆ pi÷stei ISm 1:1. Abs. 1 Pt 5:10. kathrtisme÷noß (fully) trained, practiced (Polyb. 5, 2, 11 t. ei˙resi÷aiß kathrtisme÷noi) k. pa◊ß (maqhth\ß) e¶stai wJß oJ dida¿skaloß aujtouv when fully trained, the pupil will be like the teacher Lk 6:40. S. Betz, Gal. 297 n. 43.

                2. to prepare for a purpose, prepare, make, create, outfit.

                a. act. and pass., of God (w. poiei√n) B 16:6. (W. kti÷zein) ta» pa¿nta Hm 1:1. Pass. oJko/smoß kathrti÷sqh Hv 2, 4, 1; also oi˚ ai˙w◊neß (s. ai˙w¿n 3) rJh/mati qeouv Hb 11:3. kathrtisme÷noß ei¶ß ti made, created for someth.: skeu/h ojrghvß kathrtisme÷na ei˙ß aÓpw¿leian vessels of wrath, designed for destruction Ro 9:22. a‡nqrwpoß ei˙ß eºnwsin kathrtisme÷noß a man set on (lit. made for) unity IPhld 8:1.

                b. mid. (PGM 4, 1147) katarti÷zesqai÷ ti÷ tini prepare someth. for someone sw◊ma Hb 10:5 (Ps 39:7 codd.: BSA). W. reflexive mng.: for oneself kathrti÷sw ai•non you prepared praise for yourself Mt 21:16 (Ps 8:3).—DELG s.v. aÓrari÷skw. M-M. TW. Spicq.

kata¿rtisiß, ewß, hJ (s. prec. entry; Plut., Alex. 667 [7, 1] ‘training’; cp. idem, kata¿rtusiß Them. 112 [2, 7] w. paidei÷a) the process of perfecting, maturation eujco/meqa th\n uJmw◊n k. we pray for your maturation (for the perfecting of your characters Goodsp.) 2 Cor 13:9.—DELG s.v. aÓrari÷skw. TW.

katartismo/ß, ouv, oJ (s. prec. two entries; as medical term [Soranus 150, 8]: ‘setting of a bone’, etc. But more gener. PTebt 33, 12 [112 BC] ‘preparation’ aujlhvß; cp. CMRDM 1, 121 s. New Docs 3, 70, no. 42; PRyl 127, 28; Sym. Is 38:12 ‘restoration’) ext. fig. sense (not found in ins or pap) equipment, equipping ei¶ß ti for someth. pro\ß to\n k. tw◊n aJgi÷wn ei˙ß e¶rgon diakoni÷aß to equip God’s people (lit. ‘the holy ones’) for service Eph 4:12, though training, discipline (L-S-J-M) deserve consideration as glosses for k.—DELG s.v. aÓrari÷skw. M-M. TW.

[82]           Note that the text does not affirm that their works are made “perfect,” but that the believers themselves are made perfect (“make you perfect,” katarti÷sai uJma◊ß). The person is made perfect “in every good work.”

[83]          ei˙ß to\ poihvsai to\ qe÷lhma aujtouv. The structure of ei˙ß to\ + infinitive gives the result, for even if the structure is classified as indicating purpose, the Divine purpose is accomplished with the result of doing God’s will.

[84]             touvto de« kai« eujco/meqa, th\n uJmw◊n kata¿rtisin.

[85]          katarti÷zesqe. Thee present imperative appears to be customary, like the ones that follow in the verse (parakalei√sqe, to\ aujto\ fronei√te, ei˙rhneu/ete).

[86]          pro\ß to\n katartismo\n tw◊n aJgi÷wn.

[87]           oujk e˙sti maqhth\ß uJpe«r to\n dida¿skalon aujtou: kathrtisme÷noß de« pa◊ß e¶stai wJß oJ dida¿skaloß aujtouv. Note the perfect passive participle.

[88]          Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Adelfoi÷, e˙a»n kai« prolhfqhØv a‡nqrwpoß e¶n tini paraptw¿mati, uJmei√ß oi˚ pneumatikoi« katarti÷zete to\n toiouvton e˙n pneu/mati praˆo/thtoß, skopw◊n seauto\n mh\ kai« su\ peirasqhØvß. Note the use of the present, not the aorist, imperative—not the beginning point of restoration alone is in view, but also the status of the person restored after those who are spiritual bring him back from sin.

[89]But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. oJ de« Qeo\ß pa¿shß ca¿ritoß, oJ kale÷saß hJma◊ß ei˙ß th\n ai˙w¿nion aujtouv do/xan e˙n Cristwˆ◊ ∆Ihsouv, ojli÷gon paqo/ntaß aujto\ß katarti÷sai uJma◊ß, sthri÷xai, sqenw¿sai, qemeliw¿sai.

[90]           skeu/h ojrghvß kathrtisme÷na ei˙ß aÓpw¿leian. Note that God is not expressed as the agent in the fitting of the lost to destruction, as He is in the perfecting and preparation of the saints, both in the context of Romans 9:22-23 and in other katarti÷zwtexts in the New Testament.

[91]          te÷leioß, teleio/w, telei÷wsiß, teleio/thß, telei÷wß, teleiwth/ß. The words found with some frequency in the New Testament, te÷leioß and teleio/w, are discussed below in their own paragraphs. The noun telei÷wsiß is found only in Luke 1:45 and Hebrews 7:11, the latter text being the only one dealing with progressive sanctification. Similary, teleio/thß appears in only two verses (Colossians 3:14; Hebrews 6:1), both of which deal with sanctification. The adverb telei÷wß appears only in 1 Peter 1:13, while the noun teleiwth/ß only in Hebrews 12:2. The conclusions reached from the more common te÷leioß and teleio/w, and affirmed by the study of Trench (cf. the following footnote), are supported by the less common words in the group.

[92]          § xxii. oJlo/klhroß, te÷leioß, a‡rtioß.Synonyms of the New Testament, Richard Chenevix Trench. Elec. acc. Accordance Bible Software.

[93]          On the sense in which ‘perfection’ is demanded of the Christian, there is a discussion at large by Jeremy Taylor, Doctrine and Practice of Repentance i.3. 40-56, from which this quotation is drawn.

[94]          Seneca (Ep. 120) says of one, ‘Habebat perfectum animum, ad summam sui adductus.’

[95]           The complete list of refences in the New Testament is: Luke 2:43; 13:32; John 4:34; 5:36; 17:4, 23; 19:28; Acts 20:24; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 3:12; Hebrews 2:10; 5:9; 7:19, 28; 9:9; 10:1, 14; 11:40; 12:23; James 2:22; 1 John 2:5; 4:12, 17-18. An examination of these texts supports the views set forth by Trench.

[96]           A number of texts demonstrate that the indwelling of God in the saint is not static, but deepens as he is sanctified. In addition to the context of John 17:17-23, John’s gospel presents this truth in 14:23, where the abode of the Father and the Son in the believer is associated with keeping God’s Words and growth in love by those who are already saved (14:22; cf. also 14:21, where the manifestation of God to the already justified is likewise associated with love and commandment keeping). Deeper abiding of the Son in the saint takes place as he eats Christ’s flesh and drinks His blood by faith (6:56; cf. 6:63). All believers already have the Trinity in them (Romans 8:8-10). Nevertheless, Paul wrote to the already regenerate members of the church at Ephesus: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith [katoikhvsai to\n Cristo\n dia» thvß pi÷stewß e˙n tai√ß kardi÷aiß uJmw◊n] . . . that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God [iºna plhrwqhvte ei˙ß pa◊n to\ plh/rwma touv Qeouv]” (Ephesians 3:14-19).

                In considering the development or growth of the Divine indwelling in the believer, one must keep a number of facts in mind. The Trinity is already omnipresent, so the fact of indwelling refers to the special presence of God in the Christian, in a manner similar to the fact that “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9) establishes the special presence of God in heaven, without in any way denying His omnipresence (or His special presence in the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, in the New Testament church, etc.). All believers have the special presence of the Father (John 14:23), Son (Colossians 1:27), and Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) in them. A development or deepening of indwelling would thus involve a greater degree of special presence, as God’s special presence is in heaven in a greater degree than it is in the meetings of the church on earth, although His special presence in the congregation is clearly Scriptural (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16-19; Ephesians 1:23; Revelation 1:13). This greater degree of special presence would also be associated with a control of the believer’s inner being that is greater in both extent and degree, leading to greater obedience. The difference can be illustrated by the different levels of control and obedience in a natural man who is merely under the sovereign control of God and thus does His will, in a babe in Christ who is freed from the dominion of sin and thus does God’s will in a greater way than can any unbeliever, in a mature Christian whose obedience is greater in extent and degree than it was when he was newly regenerate, and in a saint in heaven who obedience in extent and degree is perfect, as he is as conformed to God to the absolute maximum level possible for a creature.

[97]          Certain writers on sanctification affirm that the indwelling of God in the believer refers only to the Holy Spirit. However, the Bible is very clear that the entire Trinity (which is, in any case, necessarily undivided in essence) dwells within the believer. In John 14:23 the Son, speaking concerning Himself and the Person of the Father, states, “we will come unto [the believer], and make our abode with him.” There is no reason to change statements such as “Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20) into affirmations about the Holy Spirit living within believers (as He certainly does as well, Romans 8:9). In some texts (e. g., John 17:23, “I in them,” in the context of John 17—Christ alone, not the Father or the Holy Ghost, is the High Priest for the elect) switching the Son’s indwelling to that of the Spirit is impossible. Indeed, some statements that have been made that confound the indwelling of the Holy Ghost with that of the Son have been dangerously modalistic (e. g., Watchman Nee—see Excursus V).

[98]          The complete list of NT references is: Matthew 5:48; 19:21; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 2:6; 13:10; 14:20; Eph 4:13; Phil 3:15; Col 1:28; 4:12; Heb 5:14; 9:11; James 1:4, 17, 25; 3:2; 1John 4:18.

[99]           Compare 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 and the Cessation of Miraculous Gifts,” R. Bruce Compton. Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 9 (2004) 97-144.

[100]        Cristo\ß de« parageno/menoß aÓrciereu\ß tw◊n mello/ntwn aÓgaqw◊n, dia» thvß mei÷zonoß kai« teleiote÷raß skhnhvß, ouj ceiropoih/tou, touvt∆ e¶stin, ouj tau/thß thvß kti÷sewß. Of course, in this passage the word refers to “a greater and more perfect tabernacle,” not to the Christian’s progress in sanctification. Nevertheless, it provides a definite exegetical basis for the existence of degrees of the te÷leioß sort of perfection.

[101]        oJlo/klhroß, on (o¢loß, klhvroß; Pla.; Polyb. 18, 45, 9; Ps.-Lucian, Macrob. 2; Epict. 3, 26, 7; 25; 4, 1, 66; 151; OGI 519, 14; SIG 1009, 10; 1012, 9 al., s. New Docs 4, 161f; PLond III, 935, 7 p. 30 [216/17 AD]; POxy 57, 13; LXX; Philo, Abr. 47, Spec. Leg. 1, 283; Jos., Ant. 3, 228; 278; 14, 366; Just., D. 69, 7) pert. to being complete and meeting all expectations, with integrity, whole, complete, undamaged, intact, blameless pi÷stiß undiminished faith Hm 5, 2, 3; GJs 16:2. In an ethical sense: oJl. uJmw◊n to\ pneuvma . . . thrhqei÷h may your spirit . . . be preserved complete or sound 1 Th 5:23 (PGM 7, 590 {p. 704} diafu/lasse÷ mou to\ sw◊ma, th\n yuch\n oJlo/klhron.—PvanStempvoort, NTS 7, ’60/61, 262–65: connects pneuvma and aJgia¿sai in 1 Th 5:23). W. te÷leioß Js 1:4.—B. 919. DELG s.v. o¢lo. M-M. TW. Spicq. Sv. (BDAG)

[102]        And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. kai« e˙pi« thØv pi÷stei touv ojno/matoß aujtouv, touvton o§n qewrei√te kai« oi¶date e˙stere÷wse to\ o¡noma aujtouv: kai« hJ pi÷stiß hJ di∆ aujtouv e¶dwken aujtwˆ◊ th\n oJloklhri÷an tau/thn aÓpe÷nanti pa¿ntwn uJmw◊n. BDAG states that the word refers to a “state of soundness or well-being in all parts, wholeness, completeness” and that it occurs as a variant reading in the LXX of Isaiah 1:6 (“From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”).

[103]        The word “blameless” (aÓme÷mptwß) in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 does not indicate absolute sinlessness, as its only other appearance in the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 2:10, indicates: “Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe” (uJmei√ß ma¿rtureß kai« oJ Qeo/ß wJß oJsi÷wß kai« dikai÷wß kai« aÓme÷mptwß uJmi√n toi√ß pisteu/ousin e˙genh/qhmen). Certainly the apostle Paul and his associates behaved themselves in a holy, unblameable or blameless (aÓme÷mptwß) manner, but not a one of them were sinlessly perfect. The New Testament usage is consistent with that found in 1 Clement for church leaders “who have ministered to the flock of Christ blamelessly [aÓme÷mptwß], humbly, peaceably, and unselfishly, and for a long time have been well-spoken of by all” (44:3; cf. 44:4, 6; also 63:3, “trustworthy and prudent men who from youth to old age have lived blameless lives among us, a‡ndraß pistou\ß kai« sw¿fronaß aÓpo\ neo/thtoß aÓnastrafe÷ntaß eºwß gh/rouß aÓme÷mptwß e˙n hJmi√n). BDAG indicates that aÓme÷mptwß was used “used especially in the Greco-Roman. world of people of extraordinary civic consciousness,” thus meaning “blamelessly (with oJsi÷wß and dikai÷wß).”The fact that God’s faithfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:24) leads to all earthly saints being “blameless” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) does not mean that even one of them will be sinlessly perfect—but it does mean that they will all grow to be evidently, genuinely, and markedly different, both on the inside and on the outside (spirit, soul, and body). Of course, the completion of this sanctification takes place only at the moment of glorification, and not all believers attain to the same level of holiness.

[104]        Aujto\ß de« oJ Qeo\ß thvß ei˙rh/nhß aJgia¿sai uJma◊ß oJlotelei√ß: kai« oJlo/klhron uJmw◊n to\ pneuvma kai« hJ yuch\ kai« to\ sw◊ma aÓme÷mptwß e˙n thØv parousi÷aˆ touv Kuri÷ou hJmw◊n ∆Ihsouv Cristouv thrhqei÷h. pisto\ß oJ kalw◊n uJma◊ß, o§ß kai« poih/sei.

[105]           “[M]any [verses] contemplate the perfect holiness . . . of believers in common[.] . . . The work is begun here, and carried on, under different circumstances, as well as with various degrees of rapidity. Ere long it will be completed [in heaven]. . . . [P]rayers for perfection in holiness are scriptural and proper. . . . [A]ll such prayers, if offered in sincerity[,] will be answered. . . . [God] has begun to answer them, [although] the set time for answering them fully, has not yet arrived. . . . [On earth, Christian] desires [for perfect holiness] are fulfilled in part. The work has been commenced and is going forward. The period of the fulfillment is in progress . . . [believers] are enabled, by the grace of God, more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness. And, ere long, their triumph over sin and its influences will be complete . . . [at] the termination of the present life” (pgs. 56-62, The Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification, W. D. Snodgrass).

[106]a‡rtioß, i÷a, on (Hom.+; Epict. 1, 28, 3; IG XIV, 889, 7 a‡. ei¶ß ti; TestAbr A 8 p. 85, 12 [Stone p. 18]; Ath., R. 77, 4 aÓrti÷wß; Philo) pert. to being well fitted for some function, complete, capable, proficient=able to meet all demands 2 Ti 3:17.—DELG s.v. a‡rti. M-M. TW. (BDAG)

[107]        All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. pa◊sa grafh\ qeo/pneustoß kai« wÓfe÷limoß pro\ß didaskali÷an, pro\ß e¶legcon, pro\ß e˙pano/rqwsin, pro\ß paidei÷an th\n e˙n dikaiosu/nhØ: 17 iºna a‡rtioß hØ™ oJ touv Qeouv a‡nqrwpoß, pro\ß pa◊n e¶rgon aÓgaqo\n e˙xhrtisme÷noß. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

[108]e˙xarti÷zw(s. a‡rtioß) 1 aor. e˙xh/rtisa; pf. pass. ptc. e˙xhrtisme÷noß (late; Ex 28:7 v.l.).

                1. to bring someth. to an end, finish, complete (IG XII/2, 538; POxy 296, 7 [I AD] of documents; Jos., Ant. 3, 139) e˙. hJma◊ß t. hJme÷raß our time was up Ac 21:5 (cp. Hippocr., Epid. 2, 180 aÓparti÷zein th\n ojkta¿mhnon).

                2. to make ready for service, equip, furnish (Diod. S. 14, 19, 5 Vogel v.l.; Lucian; Arrian; Jos., Ant. 3, 43 v.l.; CIG II, 420, 13; Mitt-Wilck. I/2, 176, 10 [I AD]; pap, e.g. PAmh 93, 8; PTebt 342, 17) pro\ß pa◊n e¶rgon aÓgaqo\n e˙xhrtisme÷noß for every good deed 2 Ti 3:17 (with e˙xhrtisme÷noß pro/ß ti cp. Diod. S. 19, 77, 3 nauvß e˙xhrtisme÷naß pro\ß to\n po/lemon pro\ß th\n tw◊n ÔEllh/nwn e˙leuqe÷rwsin).—DELG s.v. aÓrari÷skw, s. also a‡rti. M-M. TW. Spicq. (BDAG)

                The word is derived from aÓrti÷zw, “to get ready, prepare” (Lidell-Scott). The meaning of 2 Timothy 3:16 is listed in the Louw-Nida lexicon as “to make someone completely adequate or sufficient for something — ‘to make adequate, to furnish completely, to cause to be fully qualified, adequacy.’

[109]        aÓnakai÷nwsiß, ewß, hJaÓnakaino/w s. also aÓnakaini÷zw; not found outside Christian lit.; Nägeli 52.—kai÷nwsiß Jos., Ant. 18, 230, renewal; of a person’s spiritual rebirth metamorfouvsqai thvØ aÓ. touv noo/ß be changed by the renewal of your minds Ro 12:2. loutro\n aÓ. pneu/matoß aJgi÷ou washing of renewal through the Holy Spirit (w. paliggenesi÷a) Tit 3:5. aÓ. tw◊n pneuma¿twn uJmw◊n the renewal of your spirit of the imparting of a new spirit Hv 3, 8, 9.—TW.

[110]          See the section “Vivification as Transformation” above.

[111]          thØv aÓnakainw¿sei is an instrumental dative of means.

[112]          ei˙ß to\ dokima¿zein. ““Boyer . . . suggests, as [Daniel Wallace has] for the corresponding iºna-clause, that the [ei˙ß to + inf. structure] might do double duty [as purpose and result] at times. . . . [with] infinitives after prepositions, many . . . can go either way [as purpose or result]” (Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pgs. 592-593).

[113]        aÓnakaino/w(kaino/w ‘make new’; act. Orig., C. Cels. 4, 20; mid. Heliod. Philos., In EN 221, 13) renew only in Paul, in pass., and fig. of the spiritual rebirth of the Christian (opp. diafqei÷rein) oJ e¶sw hJmw◊n (a‡nqrwpoß) aÓnakainouvtai our inner (spiritual) person is being renewed 2 Cor 4:16. aÓ. ei˙ß e˙pi÷gnwsin renew for full knowledge Col 3:10.—DELG s.v. kaino/ß. M-M. TW.

[114]        For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. Dio\ oujk e˙kkakouvmen: aÓll∆ ei˙ kai« oJ e¶xw hJmw◊n a‡nqrwpoß diafqei÷retai, aÓll∆ oJ e¶swqen aÓnakainouvtai hJme÷raˆ kai« hJme÷raˆ.

[115]        And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. kai« e˙ndusa¿menoi to\n ne÷on, to\n aÓnakainou/menon ei˙ß e˙pi÷gnwsin kat∆ ei˙ko/na touv kti÷santoß aujto/n.

[116]          Both the neo/w and kaino/w word families are employed to designate the newness of the people of God. Note the ne÷oß of Colossians 3:10; the aÓnaneo/w of Ephesians 4:23; the kaino/ß of Ephesians 2:15; 4:24; the kaino/thß of Romans 6:4; 7:6; and the aÓnakai÷nwsiß or aÓnakaino/w in Romans 12:2; Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10.

[117]          God is touv kti÷santoß aujto/n . . . to\n ne÷on, the Creator of the new man, Colossians 3:10. Psalm 51:10 (“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”; :y`I;b√rIqV;b vñé;dAj Nw#økÎnŒ Aj…wõr◊w My¡IhølTa y∞Il_a∂rV;b rwøhDfœ b∞El) connects the Divine work of creation of holiness within the believer with spiritual renewal (cf. Psalm 104:30; 2 Chronicles 24:12) in those already children of God—creative power is not limited to the impartation of new life at the moment of regeneration. Note that “a∂r;Db in the Kal is always used only of the divine production. The heart is the central organ of the whole religious moral life[.] . . . Steadfast (Nwkn) the spirit is called so far as it does not hesitate between good and evil” (pg. 443, “On The Biblical Notion of Renewal,” Warfield, citing Baethgen). Both the Old and the New Testaments indicate that inner spiritual renewal, a product of the creative power of the Almighty Jehovah, is part of God’s work of sanctifying His people, of progressively delivering them from the power of sin.

[118]           “In Titus 3:5, Paul asserts . . . [that] ‘renewing’ signifies a gradual, protracted work of sanctification, ending only with life . . . a process by which . . . regeneration . . . is completed. . . . [T]his interpretation of [Paul’s] words to Titus is favored by [2] Corinthians 4:16, which [refers to] . . . a process of renewal . . . the process of sanctification . . . a growth ‘day by day,’ month by month, year by year, till the body is laid aside by death. This, too, [is taught in 2 Corinthians] 3:18 . . . [believers are] inwardly transformed from one degree of glory, or likeness to Christ, to another; and this progressive sanctification, through the truth of the gospel, [is] wrought by the Lord, the Spirit. . . . In obvious agreement with these passages is the language of Paul in Colossians 3:9-10 . . . the ‘renewal’ [is] conceived of by the apostle as continuous, progressive, and therefore incomplete in all those whom he was addressing” (pgs. 21-25, The Doctrine of the Higher Christian Life Compared With The Teaching of the Holy Scriptures, Alvah Hovey).

[119]        Both the verb aÓnakainouvtai in 2 Corinthians 4:16 and the participle aÓnakainou/menon in Colossians 3:10 are passive—the believer does not renew Himself, but God renews the believer’s inward man. Both the verb and the participle are present tense, because God renews His people inwardly “day by day.” BDAG notes that “hJme÷ra . . . [i]n the dative [is] answering the question, when? . . . The Hebrew has also furnished the expression hJme÷raˆ kai« hJme÷raˆ day after day (Esther 3:4 MwøyÎw Mwøy=LXX kaq∆ e˚ka¿sthn hJme÷ran; Mwøy Mwøy Psalm 68:20=LXX 67:20 hJme÷ran kaq∆ hJme÷ran) 2 Corinthians 4:16; Gospel of James 6:1.” The Lord renews His people daily in the same way that Jehovah, God of salvation, daily loads His people with benefits (Psalm 68:19, 68:20, Heb.) and the same way that Mordecai was harassed daily about his refusal to bow to Haman (Esther 3:4). The Koiné parallel to a child growing physically stronger day by day (Gospel of James 6:1, ÔHme÷raˆ de« kai« hJme÷raˆ e˙krataiouvto hJ pai√ß) is also noteworthy.

[120]          aÓnaneo/wfut. 3 sg. aÓnanew¿sei Job 33:24; 1 aor. aÓnene÷wsa, mid. aÓnenewsa¿mhn LXX; aor. pass. ptc. gen. pl. aÓnanewqe÷ntwn Ath., R. 58, 20 (aÓna-, ne÷oß, s. aÓnane÷wsiß; trag. et al.; ins [e.g. OGI 90, 35 (II BC); ÖJh 64, 1995, p. 72 (III AD)]; pap, LXX; TestBenj 9:1; Apc4Esdr fgm. d [mid.]; Jos., Ant. 12, 321; Ath., R. 58, 20).

                1. trans. renew. The act. is not found very oft. w. this mng. (in a dedication to Aristonous of Corinth [III BC] fgm. 2b Diehl2 [AnthLG II, 6 p. 139] Delfoi« aÓnene÷wsan ta»n pa¿trion proxeni÷an; M. Ant. 4, 3, 3 seauto/n; 6, 15, 1; Herm. Wr. 9, 6; ins; pap; Job 33:24; 1 Macc 12:1; Iren., 3, 3, 3 [Harv. II 11, 1]) aÓ. th\n zwh/n (of the angel of repentance) restore life Hs 9, 14, 3. Much more freq. (since Thu. 7, 33, 4) is the mid. (Diod. S. 33, 28a, 3 Dind.; 37, 15, 2; Chion, Ep. 16, 8; Appian, Maced. 11 §6; SIG 721, 13; 475, 10; 554, 6; 591, 53, cp. index; OGI 90, 35; Esth 3:13b; 1 Macc 12:3, 10, 16 al.; Jos., Bell. 1, 283, Ant. 1, 290), which seems not to have the reflexive sense ‘renew oneself’. Hence aÓnaneouvsqai tw◊ˆ pneu/mati touv noo/ß is better taken as a pass. be renewed=(let yourselves) be renewed in the spirit of your minds Eph 4:23 (on the figure Cornutus 33 p. 70, 10 aÓnanea¿zein e˙k tw◊n no/swn kai« e˙kdu/esqai to\ ghvraß). aÓnaneouvtai to\ pneuvma his spirit is renewed Hv 3, 12, 2; 3, 13, 2, cp. 3, 12, 3.

                2. intr. become young again mhke÷ti e¶conteß e˙lpi÷da touv aÓnanew◊sai Hv 3, 11, 3.—New Docs 3, 61f. DELG s.v. ne÷oß. M-M. TW. Sv. (BDAG)

[121]        aÓnaneouvsqai de« twˆ◊ pneu/mati touv noo\ß uJmw◊n.

[122]          Thus, the imperative aÓnaneouvsqai in Ephesians 4:23 is present passive—the renewal is progressive and God is the agent of it.

[123]          In the New Testament, aÓnaneo/w is also a hapax legomenon, and the emphasis upon the mind is validated by parallel texts such as Romans 12:2, by the etymology of the word, and, obviously, from the specific addition of twˆ◊ pneu/mati touv noo\ß. However, the LXX demonstrates that the verb aÓnaneo/w on its own was not limited to mental renewal (Esther 13:2; 1 Maccabees 12:1, 3, 10, 16; 14:18, 22; 15:17; 4 Maccabees 18:4; Job 33:24—peace, friendship, brotherhood, and even the body is renewed with aÓnaneo/w). The Shepherd of Hermas employs the verb for God renewing the spirit when it employs the passive voice, but employs the active for the restoration of youth or life (19:3; 20:2–3; 21:2; 91:3). Somewhat later Irenaeus employs the active of aÓnaneo/w for faith being renewed (Against Heresies, 3:3:3) and the passive for the renewal of man to incorruptibility in association with the the new heavens and earth (5:36:1), while Athenagoras uses the passsive for the renewal of human bodies in the resurrection (On the Resurrection 10).

[124]          Hebrews 6:6 employs the related verb, aÓnakaini÷zw for renew, speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit that brings an unconverted individual to repentance and salvation. Specifically, the verse indicates that a lost man who deliberately turns from the truth after coming to the place of maximum revelation and Spirit-produced conviction (cf. John 16:8-11) spoken of in Hebrews 6:4-8 will never thereafter be brought by God the Holy Ghost to the point where he can repent and be saved. Thus, Hebrews 6:6 adds to the evidence of Titus 3:5 that renewal begins at the same temporal instance as repentance, faith, regeneration, and justification. The fact that aÓnakaini÷zein in Hebrews 6:6 is a present infinitive seems to indicate that the verb includes the convicting and drawing working of the Spirit that leads a lost man to seek Christ (cf. Luke 13:24; Matthew 7:13-14; John 7:17) and temporally precedes the Spirit’s giving the responding sinner repentance and faith. Compare Lamentations 5:21, LXX: e˙pi÷streyon hJma◊ß ku/rie pro\ß se÷ kai« e˙pistrafhso/meqa kai« aÓnakai÷nison hJme÷raß hJmw◊n kaqw»ß e¶mprosqen, Turn us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be turned; and renew our days as before.

[125]           “[R]egeneration . . . differs from sanctification as the beginning of a thing differs from its continuance. And the relation of one to the other is clearly set forth by an apostle, when he says, ‘He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ’ [Philippians 1:6]. The author of the work is the same in all its parts. He who begins it is the same agent who carries it on; and we have no reason to suppose that the influence which is exerted in its progress is different from that which operates at the commencement. It is one work, and the efficient power which is concerned in producing it is one, but it consists of different stages or degrees. It is not perfect at once, but passes from an [incomplete] state to one which is more perfect. It is not instantaneous, but progressive” (pgs. 11-12, The Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification, W. D. Snodgrass). In the words of Arthur Pink (pgs. 75-76, Doctrine of Sanctification):

[I]n one sense, the relation between regeneration and sanctification is that of the infant to the adult. . . . In likening the connection between regeneration and sanctification to the relation between an infant and an adult, it should be pointed out that we have in mind our practical and progressive sanctification, and not our objective and absolute sanctification. Our absolute sanctification, so far as our state before God is concerned, is simultaneous with our regeneration. The essential thing in our regeneration is the Spirit’s quickening of us into newness of life; the essential thing in our sanctification is that thenceforth we are an habitation of God, through the indwelling of the Spirit, and from that standpoint all the subsequent progressive advances in the spiritual life are but the effects, fruits, and manifestations of that initial consecration or anointing. The consecration of the tabernacle, and later of the temple, was a single act, done once and for all; after, there were many evidences of its continuance or perpetuity. But it is with the experimental aspect we would here treat.

At regeneration a principle of holiness is communicated to us; practical sanctification is the exercise of that principle in living to God. In regeneration the Spirit imparts saving grace; in His work of sanctification, He strengthens and develops the same. As “original sin” or that indwelling corruption which is in us at our natural birth, contains within it the seeds of all sin, so that grace which is imparted to us at the new birth contains within it the seeds of all spiritual graces; and as the one develops and manifests itself as we grow, so it is with the other.

“Sanctification is a constant, progressive renewing of the whole man, whereby the new creature doth daily more and more die unto sin and live unto God. Regeneration is the birth, sanctification is the growth of this babe in grace. In regeneration, the sun of holiness rises; in sanctification it keepeth its course, and shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). The former is a specifical change from nature to grace (Ephesians 5:8); the latter is a gradual change from one degree of grace to another (Psalm 84:7), whereby the Christian goeth from strength to strength till he appear before God in Zion” (George Swinnock, 1660).

Thus, the foundation of sanctification is laid in regeneration, in that a holy principle is then first formed in us. That holy principle evidences itself in conversion, which is a turning away from sin to holiness, from Satan to Christ, from the world to God. It continues to evidence itself under the constant work of mortification and vivification, or the practical putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new; and is completed at glorification. The great difference then between regeneration and experimental and practical sanctification is that the former is a Divine act, done once and for all; while the latter is a Divine work of God’s grace, wherein He sustains and develops, continues and perfects the work He then began. The one is a birth, the other a growth. The making of us practically holy is the design which God has in view when He quickens us: it is the necessary means to this end, for sanctification is the crown of the whole process of salvation.

One of the chief defects of modern teaching on this subject has been in regarding the new birth as the summum bonum of the spiritual life of the believer. Instead of being the end, it is . . . a means to the end. Regeneration must be supplemented by sanctification, or otherwise the soul would remain at a standstill—if such a thing were possible: for it seems to be an unchanging law in every realm that where there is no progression, there must be retrogression. That spiritual growth which is so essential lies in progressive sanctification, wherein all the faculties of the soul are more and more brought under the purifying and regulating influence of the principle of holiness which is implanted at the new birth, for thus alone do we grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

[126]          Pgs. 439, 450-452, 459-460, “On The Biblical Notion of Renewal,” Benjamin B. Warfield, in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works of Benjamin B. Warfield. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003; reprint of 1932 Oxford ed. Article orig. pub. The Princeton Theological Review, v. ix, 1911, pgs. 242-267.

[127]        Philip E. Hughes (pgs. 27-28, The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001) wrote: “[I]n Christ . . . [t]he image marred by our fallenness is renewed in him who is the Image of God in which we were first formed. From the beginning he has been the key and the guarantee to a destiny more glorious than the beginning. The renewal of our humanity after the image of its Creator is already complete in the triumphant and glorious exaltation of the incarnate Son who is the Lord our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30), and during the course of this earthly pilgrimage it is progressively taking place within us as with the Holy Spirit’s aid we increase in Christlikeness (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:12, 16).”

[128]        a‡nwqenadv. of place . . . 1. in extension from a source that is above, from above . . . Esp. from heaven . . . 4. at a subsequent point of time involving repetition, again, anew . . . aÓ. gennhqhvnai be born again J 3:3, 7 (a‡. genna◊sqai in the physical sense Artem. 1, 13) is designedly ambiguous and suggests also a transcendent experience born from above. (BDAG)

[129]          As noted by a variety of writers (e. g., Buchsel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1:671; gen. ed. G. Kittel & G Friedrich, 10 vol. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1976), in John gennhqhvnai is always used with a reference to the point of origin. Note e˙k touv Qeouv and e˙x aujtouv (1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18; John 1:13); e˙k Pneu/matoß (John 3:5, 6, 8); e˙x u¢datoß (3:5); e˙k thvß sarko/ß (3:6); e˙k qelh/matoß (aÓndro/ß/Qeouv 1:13); a‡nwqen (3:3, 7).

[130]        aÓpokue÷w1 aor. aÓpeku/hsa (because the aor. is found in this form [not aÓpe÷kusa] Js 1:18, W-H. Vog. M. in 1:15 accent aÓpokuei√; s. W-S. §15 p. 129); aor. pass. aÓpekuh/qh (Just., A I, 32, 14; 46, 5). (kue÷w or ku/w ‘to be pregnant’; Aristot., fgm. 76 Rose; Dionys. Hal. 1, 70 [interpol.]; Plut., Sull. 475 [37, 7]; Lucian, D. Mar. 10, 1; Aelian, VH 5, 4 et al.; Herm. Wr. 1, 16; BGU 665 II, 19 [I AD]; APF 3, 1906, 370 II, 4; Sb 6611, 15; PFamTebt 20, 15; 20; 22; 4 Macc 15:17; Philo, Ebr. 30 al.) give birth to

                a. of delivery of that with which one has been pregnant, w. aÓpo/ retaining its force give birth to, o§ß e˙[k]uoforh/qh|[. . .. . .]. uJp∆ aujthvß wJß aÓpokuhvse (=eºwß aÓpokuhvsai) aujth/n, kai« gennhvsai [∆Ihsouvn] to\n Cristo/n who was carried (in the womb) by her (Mary) until she gave birth and bore [Jesus] the Messiah AcPl Ha 8, 27f.

                b. otherwise in our lit. only fig., hJ aJmarti÷a aÓ. qa¿naton sin gives birth to (i.e. brings forth) death Js 1:15. But the term is not confined to the human female faculty (cp. Herm. Wr. 1, 9); of God (s. genna¿w) aÓpeku/hsen hJma◊ß lo/gwˆ aÓlhqei÷aß gave birth to us (brought us into being) through the word of truth Js 1:18.—C-MEdsman, Schöpferwille u. Geburt Jk 1:18: ZNW 38, ’39, 11–44.—DELG s.v. kue÷w I. M-M. TW. Spicq. (BDAG)

[131]          James draws a striking contrast with aÓpokue÷w—in those who are not begotten of God (aÓpeku/hsen, 1:18), sin is bringing forth death (aÓpoku/ei, 1:15).

[132]        aÓnagenna¿w1 aor. aÓnege÷nnhsa; pass. aÓnegennh/qhn (Just., Tat.); pf. pass. ptc. aÓnagegennhme÷noß (Philod., Ira p. 18 W.; Sir Prol. ln. 28 v.l.) beget again, cause to be born again fig. of the spiritual rebirth of Christians.—Of God oJ aÓnagennh/saß hJma◊ß ei˙ß e˙lpi÷da zw◊san who has given us a new birth for a living hope 1 Pt 1:3. aÓnagegennhme÷noi oujk e˙k spora◊ß fqarthvß born again not of perishable seed vs. 23 (in Herm. Wr. 13, 1 Sc. aÓgnow◊, w° trisme÷giste, e˙x oiºaß mh/traß a‡nqrwpoß aÓnagennhqei÷h a‡n, spora◊ß de« poi÷aß the rdg. aÓnag. is not certain, but Sallust. 4 p. 8, 24=FPhGr III, 33, col. 2, 6 uses the word in describing mysteries ga¿laktoß trofh/, w‚sper aÓnagennwme÷nwn).—Cp. RPerdelwitz, D. Mysterienreligion u. d. Problem des 1 Pt 1911, 37ff; HWindisch, Hdb. Exc. on 1 Pt 2:2 and the entry paliggenesi÷a.—DELG s.v. gi÷gnomai 222. M-M. TW. Sv. (BDAG)

[133]          The fact that both the new birth (James 1:18) and spiritual growth (John 17:17; 1 Peter 2:2) take place through the instrumentality of the incorruptible Word of God (1 Peter 1:23) means that those who employ corrupt Bible versions that are based on Hebrew and Greek texts other than the Old and New Testament Textus Receptus, literally and accurately translated (as they are in the King James Version), will have more difficulty both being converted and growing spiritually. The power of God, a product of the breath of God (qeo/pneustoß) that remains upon the Word both accurately copied and (in a derivative sense) translated (cf. “Are Accurate Copies and Translations of Scripture Inspired? A Study of 2 Timothy 3:16, by Thomas Ross; faithsaves.net/Bibliology) without which both regeneration and sanctification are impossible, will be absent from a Bible version to whatever extent it is corrupt.

[134]          And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. oJ de« ∆Ihsouvß ei•pen aujtoi√ß, ∆Amh\n le÷gw uJmi√n o¢ti uJmei√ß oi˚ aÓkolouqh/sante÷ß moi, e˙n thØv paliggenesi÷aˆ o¢tan kaqi÷shØ oJ ui˚o\ß touv aÓnqrw¿pou e˙pi« qro/nou do/xhß aujtouv, kaqh/sesqe kai« uJmei√ß e˙pi« dw¿deka qro/nouß, kri÷nonteß ta»ß dw¿deka fula»ß touv ∆Israh/l.

[135]          Compare the parallel drawn between cosmic and individual redemption in Romans 8:19-23.

[136]           Philip Hughes powerfully develops the relationship between individual and cosmic regeneration, and their mutual connection to the Lord Jesus Christ:

It is important to understand that what happened to the incarnate Son happened to our human nature. . . . His resurrection and his exaltation demonstrate to us that death has been swallowed up in victory, his victory, and assure us that God gives us this same victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

        In him, moreover, our human nature is exalted and brought to perfection. . . . Thus what Psalm 8 affirms about man generically is attained specifically in Christ Jesus. . . . The point that must not be missed is this, that Jesus is in absolute reality the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, of all God’s purposes for mankind and for creation (cf. Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13). What God started in creation he not only started in the Son, who is the Image after whom man is formed, but he also completed in the Son, who is the Image to whom all the redeemed are being conformed (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). . . . So real is this exaltation of our redeemed human nature in Christ, so complete is the reconciling and glorifying work performed for us, so genuine is the union of the believer with the incarnate Lord on high, that there is an authentic identity between the Redeemer and the redeemed. . . . The key expression in the communication of this truth is that which defines the existence of the believer as being in Christ, with its corollary that he is therefore with Christ—revitalized with Christ, raised with Christ, enthroned with Christ. Christ has always been the concentration point of God’s age-old purposes, before creation, at creation, and in the restoration of all things. . . .

        In the teaching of the apostles the resurrection of Jesus is strikingly proclaimed as signalizing the rebirth of our humanity. It is in him, the conqueror of death and Satan, that the new creation comes into being. . . . The resurrection of Jesus, then, is the sign to the world (cf. Matthew 12:38-40) that declares the reality of the new beginning of the human race in Christ. The regeneration it proclaims is of such significance that it [leads to] the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1), which is the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). As with the original creation, this is the work of God, who in Christ makes all things new (Revelation 21:5; cf. Genesis 1:1). It is the dynamic internalization of the creation principle, for God, who in the original creation said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” now dispels the darkness of ungodliness by causing the light of the knowledge of his glory revealed in Christ to shine in the believing heart (2 Corinthians 4:6). Hence the description of the person who is in Christ as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and the instruction that those who are thus reborn are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). In this the continuity that relates the new to the original creation is evident, as also in the assertion that “the new man” or “the new humanity” put on by the Christian “is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10), which betokens the recovery of the first principle of man’s creation, namely, his formation after the image of God, which, again, is after Christ who is the Image of God. Likeness to Christ, Christiformity, is the whole sum and purpose of man’s creation.

        The reconciliation of man to God achieves also the reconciliation of all things, the reconciliation not only of man to God but also of man to man and of all creation. Through Christ, St. Paul says, God reconciles to himself “all things, whether on earth or in heaven, having made peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20). In the crucified, risen, and glorified Savior there is the healing of all enmity and incompatibility, personal, racial, and indeed of every kind; for Christ “is our peace, who . . . has broken down the dividing wall of hostility . . . that he might create in himself one new man [i. e., one new reborn humanity] . . . in one body through the cross, thereby bringing hostility to an end” (Ephesians 2:13-16). The restoration of harmony between man and God and between man and man inevitably effects the recovery of the harmony of all things. While the focus of the regeneration accomplished through the redeeming work of the incarnate Son is upon man as the head of the created order, the scope of this regeneration is in the end creation-wide. This expectation is altogether logical. Man’s fall, apart from its disasterous results for himself, has subjected the creation as a whole to futility—not, however, without hope; for, St. Paul explains, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God,” when, at the return of the Son himself in glory, “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:19ff.). Man’s rebellion, in Adam, against his Creator led to his rebellious abuse and perversion of the dominion with which he had been entrusted over the earth; but the renewal of man, in Christ, leads to the renewal of the cosmos, and the glorification of man brings with it the glorification of that order of which he is the chief part. The actuality of rebirth which flows from the resurrection of the Crucified One from the dead therefore exerts a regenerative power that is cosmic as well as human in its comprehensiveness, as in Christ, through whom all things were created, the divine purpose in the creation of man and the world is brought to its glorious fulfilment. (pgs. 380-385, The True Image)

[137]           A confusion of categories would be involved in the conclusion, reasoning from the parallel between cosmic and individual regeneration, that progressive sanctification does not involve the Spirit eradicating indwelling sinfulness and imparting inward holiness because in the Millennium all those who enter the earthly kingdom are regenerate but by the end of the thousand year reign the many unconverted people who will have been born will rebel against Christ, so that greater human holiness is not present at the conclusion of the Millennial reign (Revelation 20:1-10). Even apart from the fact that there doubtless will be a vast number of glorious spiritual achievements and wonderful progress made in innumerable areas during the thousand years of Christ’s reign from Jerusalem, Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5 do not present a parallel with individual renewal, but with individual regeneration. The contrast between the present age under Satan’s rule and the Millennial kingdom under Christ’s rule teaches much about the nature of individual regeneration, but nothing about the nature of progressive renewal during the Christian life. No text of the Bible draws an explicit parallel between the unfolding events of Christ’s future earthly kingdom and the unfolding events of individual renewal in progressive personal sanctification.

[138]          See “Excursus V: Regeneration and Sanctification Are Connected with the Renewal of the Whole Person, Body, Soul, and Spirit—Not, as Watchman Nee Affirmed, with the Human Spirit Alone,” below. This excursus has been changed.

[139]        Regeneration affects all the faculties of the soul; that is, intellect, will, and affections, as well as all the members of the body which are appointed to be instruments of righteousness. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17). Everything is changed. The change is such that it is as if a dead person became alive and arose from the dead, as if a blind person received vision, as if a deaf person received hearing, and as if a crippled person walked. Nothing is changed perfectly, however, for the old nature remains, together with its motions and operations. This results in a battle between the flesh and the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:17; Rom 7:23).

Question: How is it to be understood that within one person there can simultaneously be an old and a new nature, light and darkness, life and death? Does each occupy or consist of a different portion of this man? Does each protect this part as its own and strive to evict the other from its part?

Answer: They do not each function independently, but are completely intertwined, as is true of light and darkness during dusk, or of cold and heat in lukewarm water. . . . Such is likewise the case here. Two things which are opposite to each other cannot exist equally to the highest degree within one subject. This is possible, however, when each party is in a mediate position. This will not be a peaceful coexistence, however, for the one will seek to drive out the other. One must thus not deduce his regeneration from the degree of perfection of this new life, nor from the measure in which it manifests itself, but rather from its genuineness. If genuine spiritual life, light, and faith are present, then one is regenerate. Let the old man be as strong as it may be, where there is life it will remain; and wherever there is inner life, it will manifest itself in these and similar fruits. (pgs. 250-251, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 2, Wilhelmus á Brakel)

[140]           “The spiritual life implanted in regeneration is similar to the natural life in that it must be nourished and strengthened for it to expand and grow. In other ways there is a great difference between them, of course, inasmuch as the spiritual life originates in God as Savior, is acquired by the resurrection of Christ, and is eternal life that can neither sin nor die. Nevertheless regenerate persons continually need to be ‘strengthened in their inner being with power through God’s Spirit’ (cf. Eph. 3:16). This strengthening of the spiritual life, like its beginning, originates with God and the riches of his grace. The life of spiritual persons, also after its origination, cannot for a moment be separated from God and his fellowship; in the same strict and particular sense in which this life is from God, it also is through and for him. It is he who nourishes and maintains it, never abandons it, prompts it to engage in certain activities, and not only bestows the capacity but also the willing and the working according to his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13; 2 Cor. 3:5). It is a life in communion with Christ. . . . [B]elievers are united with Christ, both in his death and in his resurrection (Rom. 6:5). They are in Christ, and Christ lives in them (2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 2:20). They cannot do anything if they do not remain in him as branches in the vine (John 15:4–5). They can only become strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might (Eph. 6:10) by the Spirit of Christ and in communion with him (Rom. 8:13, 26; 2 Cor. 13:13; Eph. 3:16). But in the case of the regenerate, that Spirit works from the center of their being to the circumference. This is both possible and proper since the ‘new person’ is not immediately perfected in ‘degrees’ but in ‘parts.’ In regeneration the whole person is, in principle, re-created. A person’s self dies and lives again in and by the power of Christ (Gal. 2:20). From the very start it is a new human (kaino\ßa‡nqrwpoß, kainos anthrōpos) who is created in Christ (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), a creation that, though small and delicate, is nevertheless complete in all its parts. The Holy Spirit, accordingly, works at various aspects to make the new person grow evenly and proportionately in all one’s parts. He works as the Spirit of wisdom, holiness, and glory, and adorns believers with an array of powers and gifts and virtues (Rom. 15:13; 1 Cor. 12:3ff.; Gal. 5:2–3)” (pg. 98, Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 4, Herman Bavinck).

[141]           Note the use of participles for God’s work of the creation of the new heaven and earth in both Isaiah 65:17-18 (aóérwøb y∞InSa . . . h¡Dv∂dSj X®r∞DaÎw My™Iv∂dSj Mˆy¶AmDv aöérwøb y¶In◊nIh) and 66:22 (r°RvSa h%Dv∂dSjAh X®r°DaDh◊w MyIv∂dFjAh Mˆy∞AmDÚvAh h¢RcOo y¶InSa)—both texts thus employ forms expected for an action involving a process rather than one completed at a single instant in time (cf. Isaiah 66:22 (LXX), oJ oujrano\ß kaino\ß kai« hJ ghv kainh/ a± e˙gw» poiw◊, and 65:18, e˙gw» poiw◊). Note that Isaiah 66:22 also connects the certainty that the people of God will not be cast away with the certainty that the renewed cosmos will not be cast away. From the moment God’s renewing power enables a sinner to take the water of life freely until the ultimate consummation in the New Jerusalem, the Triune Jehovah can truly testify, ∆Idou/, kaina» pa¿nta poiw◊, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5; cf. 21:1-7).

[142]          Synonyms of the New Testament, Richard Chenevix Trench. Section xviii, pgs. 64-66.

[143]          “On The Biblical Notion of Renewal,” Benjamin B. Warfield, pgs. 454-457.

[144]           Since, as is demonstrated in the section “The Certainty of Practical Sanctification For All The Regenerate,” God has ordained that He will sanctify all the justified, even in this life, all believers experience some degree of progress in the mortification of sin and growth in holiness. Since God ordains both His intended ends and the means to His ends (Ephesians 1:11), all Christians will, to some extent, embrace the prerequisites and means to vivification explicated in the following sections of this treatise.

[145]           The distinction Pink affirms, that some believers are right with God and others are not, while all believers are righteous before the Lord in another sense, is certainly valid—however, an absolute distinction between the ue of the English words “clean” and “pure” with reference to the heart is not consistently maintained in Scripture. Thus, the “clean heart” (rwøhDfœ b∞El) of only the repentant believer (Psalm 51:10) is also called “pureness of heart” (b¡El_rwøhVf, Proverbs 22:11).

[146]           Pg. 54, Doctrine of Sanctification, Arthur W. Pink. Pink helpfully further explicated the “right with God” distinction as follows:

It is not every man, nor even every Christian, who obtains definite answers to his prayers. Far from it! A “righteous man” [in one sense of the term] is one who is right with God in a practical way: one whose conduct is pleasing in His sight, one who keeps his garments unspotted from the world, who is in separation from religious evil . . . Such a one has the ear of Heaven, for there is no moral barrier between his soul and a sin hating God. (Life of Elijah, Chapter 3, “The Brook Cherith.”)

When we have sinned away our peace there is a strangeness and distance between the soul and the Holy One. When our inward monitor convicts and condemns us, the heart grows shy of God, so that we cannot so comfortably look Him in the face. It is only when everything is made right with God, by contrite confession and faith’s appropriation of the cleansing blood of Christ, that we can approach the throne of grace with boldness. (Exposition of Hebrews, vol. 3, Arthur Pink, Chapter 122, “Praying for Ministers.”)

[147]           See “Vivification as Building Up” above.

[148]           rwøhDf, Psalm 51:10; Proverbs 22:11.

[149]           v¢Ey . . . r#DvÎy ∞ÔKVbDbVl_tRa vªEySh The legitimacy of the question is not undermined by the fact that Jehu’s heart was not actually right when he spoke to Jonadab; Jonadab’s zeal or holy jealousy for Jehovah (hODwhyAl hDa◊nIq2 Kings 10:16) and hatred of the idolatrous Baal worship Jehu was extirpating was genuine—Jonadab’s heart was truly right, and he truly had the zeal that Jehu merely professed. Note that the Lord blessed Jonadab’s zeal for the Lord, rejection of worldliness, and abstinence from wine with a godly seed (Jeremiah 35).

[150]          (cf. rAvÎy) rRvOy/rDvÎy bEl/bDbEl

[151]           MElDv, a word discussed in more depth in the next paragraph—the reference is placed here because of the insight to the nature of an upright or perfect heart manifested by David’s life. A right heart is upright, honest, and straight rather than crooked (rDvÎy), and is also well-rounded, complete, and under God’s authority in every area of life (MElDv).

[152]           The condition in Psalm 66:18 is: :y`DnOdSa —o∞AmVvˆy aäøl y¡I;bIlVb yIty∞Ia∂r_MIa N‰wDa. Compare the sense of hDa∂r in Psalm 37:37, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace,” :MwáølDv vy∞IaVl tyäîrSjAa_y`I;k r¡DvÎy h∞Ea√r…w MD;tœ_rDmVv, and Genesis 20:10, Dty$Ia∂r h∞Dm, and aÓdiki÷an ei˙ e˙qew¿roun e˙n kardi÷aˆ mou mh\ ei˙sakousa¿tw ku/rioß, Iniquitatem si aspexi in corde meo, non exaudiet Dominus (LXX & Vulgate). Declarations similar in idea to Psalm 66:18 occur in Psalm 17:1-7; 18:20-27; 26:1–7. John Gill commented: “There was iniquity in [David’s] heart, as there is in every good man’s heart, and a great deal too; it is full of it; and it should be regarded in some sense, so as to guard against it, and pray to be kept from it, that it may not break forth into action; and so as to loath it, abhor it, and be humbled for it; but not so as to nourish and cherish it, to take delight and pleasure in it: [thus, the passage could be rendered] ‘if I look upon it’ . . . that is, with approbation of it, and satisfaction in it, and ordered his conversation according to it; or acted the deceitful and hypocritical part in prayer; or had any evil intention in his petitions, to consume on his lusts what he asked for[.]”

[153]           The situation of the Levites rather than the priests in the text—My`InShO;kAh`Em väé;dåqVtIhVl b$DbEl yâérVvˆy ‹Mˆ¥yˆwVlAh.

[154]           MElDv bEl/bDbEl

[155]           Compare the idea of MElDv as completeness or intactness (KB).

[156]           Note that the “high places” of 1 Kings 15:14a refer to unauthorized altars to Jehovah, not to places where false gods were worshipped; cf. 1 Kings 22:43 (Heb. 22:44); 2 Kings 12:3; 14:4; 15:4, 35; 2 Chronicles 15:17; 20:33. Asa did destroy the places where idols were worshipped (2 Chronicles 14:3-5; cf. 17:6).

[157]           JKAlDh in the Hithpael, the conjugation regularly employed for believers who walk with God, and indicating that they walked about, went to and fro, with Him in an iterative way (cf. Genesis 13:17; Exodus 21:19; Joshua 18:4, 8; Judges 21:24; 1 Samuel 12:2; 23:13; 30:31; 2 Samuel 11:2; 1 Chronicles 16:20; 21:4; Esther 2:11; Job 1:7; 2:2; 18:8; 22:14; 38:16; Psalm 12:8; 35:14; 39:6; 43:2; 58:7; 68:21; 77:17; 82:5; 101:2; 105:13; 119:45; Proverbs 6:22; 20:7; 23:31; 24:34 Ezekiel 1:13; 19:6; 28:14; Zechariah 1:10, 11; 6:7; 10:12), that is, they communed with Him and fellowshipped with Him (Genesis 3:8; 5:22, 24; 6:9; 17:1; 24:40; 48:15; Leviticus 26:12; Deuteronomy 23:15; 1 Samuel 2:30, 35; 2 Samuel 7:6–7; 2 Kings 20:3; 1 Chronicles 17:6; Psalm 56:14; 116:9; Isaiah 38:3; also see KB & BDB, and the references to human fellowship in 1 Samuel 25:15, 27; also see Psalm 26:3).

[158]           h$DxEpSj vRp∞Rn; service with willingness and desire (cf. 1 Kings 13:33; 21:6; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Nehemiah 1:11; Micah 7:18; Malachi 3:1; Psalm 5:5; 34:13; 35:27; 40:15; 70:3; 111:2) from the soul.

[159]           The Hithpael of bådÎn; “to make a voluntary decision . . . a voluntary contribution” (KB).

[160]           Note that the warning that marriages to pagan women “will turn away your heart after their gods” (2 Kings 11:2) refers to the Deuteronomic warning “they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods” (Deuteronomy 7:4), closely connecting the direction of the heart and the act of following.

[161]           hDfÎnin the Hiphil, as is “turn away” in 1 Kings 11:2, 4; 11:9 contains the Qal.

[162]           In certain texts it is not immediately obvious whether the upright in heart are saints who are walking in integrity or the entire body of the saints; nonetheless, the Scriptural evidence for both sorts of uprightness is clear. Texts that are less immediately clear, as well as verses that clearly speak of the one sort of uprightness of heart or the other, nonetheless can illuminate characteristics of the uprightness both of all the elect and of those believers who are not holding on to known sin.

[163]           The LXX states that Iwb . . . h™n oJ a‡nqrwpoß e˙kei√noß aÓlhqino/ß a‡memptoß di÷kaioß qeosebh/ß aÓpeco/menoß aÓpo\ panto\ß ponhrouv pra¿gmatoß (1:1; “Job . . . was true, blameless, righteous, and godly, abstaining from everything evil.”). The Targum states that Job was :vyb Nm ydow yyy Mdq_Nm lyjd Xyrtw Mylv.

For the idea in the description of sinful earthly saints as “perfect,” see the section “Vivification as Perfecting” above.

[164]           ÔK¡RtD;mUtV;b qy∞IzSjAm; Job kept hold of, seized, or grasped his perfectness.

[165]           Compare the use of MyImD;t for blemish-free sacrifical animals, Exodus 12:5; 29:1; etc.

[166]           Thus, by Mmt/MD;t/MO;t/hD;mU;t/MyImD;t.

[167]           Nwkand bEl/bDbEl. A distinction is present between Nwkin the Niphal and Hiphil; the heart is established or steadfast and caused to be established or steadfast, that is, prepared or fixed. Also, as with other combinations of words for the right with God, the “prepared heart” is both spoken of as the possesion of the believer who is in fellowship with the Lord and, at times, as a description of all the people of God in general as distinguished from the wicked and hell-bound and in settings where those who were heaven-bound but backslidden and those who were still hell-bound are grouped together (cf. Psalm 11:2; 78:8, 37), although in general the “prepared heart” is descriptive of the progressing believer in contrast with one who is regressing.

[168]           Thus, Psalm 51:10 employs a∂r;Db.

[169]           Psalm 51 is a model for the type of prayer of repentance that is appropriate for a backslidden saint who wishes to again be right with God. Note that David knew that he did not lose his salvation as a result of his sin; his prayer in 51:11b, “take not thy holy spirit from me,” refers to his desire not to lose the theocratic enduement with the Holy Spirit that he had received as the king over Israel, an empowerment he had received upon being anointed to his office (1 Samuel 16:13), as Saul had received it upon his anointing (1 Samuel 10:1-11). Saul had lost this theocratic enduement when he was rejected as king for his disobedience and David was anointed (1 Samuel 16:1-14). This sort of theocratic rejection was what David prayed to be spared from in Psalm 51:11.

[170]           A phrase used for Jehovah’s blessing in Ezra and Nehemiah is to have God’s hand upon one who belongs to Him or to have His good hand upon a believer or group of His people for good (Ezra 7:6, 9, 28; 8:18, 22, 31; Nehemiah 2:8, 18; note that God is specified in these texts as “my” God, “our” God, or “his” God, the God of the person or group who have His hand upon him or them, and the phrase is often employed in association with the covenant name Jehovah). Only those believers who are right with God can have His hand upon them for good in the way Ezra and Nehemiah did.

[171]           rårDs.

[172]           Thus, the verb rårDs, which is the “backsliding” of Hosea 4:16, means “to be stubborn” (KB), a way the verb is translated in Deuteronomy 21:18, 20; Psalm 78:8; Proverbs 7:11. The verb is rendered as “rebellious” in Psalm 66:7; 68:6, 19; Isaiah 1:23; 30:1; 65:2, and as “revolting,” in a state of revolt, in Jeremiah 5:23; 6:28; Hosea 9:15. It “lays stress on attitude, whereas the synonymous mārad emphasizes rebellious actions” (TWOT, rårDs).

[173]           Thus, those who are backsliding, a rwø;dœ hñ®rQOm…w r©érwøs rwø;d, are those who are not upright in heart, wóø;bIl Ny∞IkEh_aøl.

[174]           The complete list of references to the English “backsliding” are: Proverbs 14:14; Jeremiah 2:19; 3:6, 8, 11–12, 14, 22; 5:6; 8:5; 14:7; 31:22; 49:4; Hosea 4:16; 11:7; 14:4; the Hebrew words involved are: rrs, gws, hDb…wvVm, and bDbwøv.

[175]           Thus, Isaiah 65:2 does not just contextually refer to idolatrous and unconverted Israelites (65:2-7), but is employed by Paul of the unregenerate Jews who reject the gospel (Romans 10:21), in contrast with those Gentiles who believe it (Isaiah 65:1; Romans 10:20). Note that it is clearly erroneous to assume that because Israel was, in a national sense, the people of God, that therefore every passage in which the Lord addresses His chosen nation refers to those who truly belong to Him, and that consequently texts warning sinning Israel must refer to the saved who are not living as they ought instead of to the unconverted (cf. Romans 9). Many of the texts employing the verb for “backsliding” in Hosea 4:16 refer to the lost (note the complete list of texts: Deuteronomy 21:18, 20; Nehemiah 9:29; Psalm 66:7; 68:7, 19; 78:8; Proverbs 7:11; Isaiah 1:23; 30:1; 65:2; Jeremiah 5:23; 6:28; Hosea 4:16; 9:15; Zechariah 7:11); indeed, none of the passages with rårDs clearly and definitively refer to a disobedient saved person, although a reference to both the lost and disobedient saved is possible in several references.

[176]           Compare the Psalm 78 texts and the status of Israel in the wilderness to “Excursus IV: Hebrews 3-4 As An Alleged Evidence For Perpetually Sinning Christians” below.

[177]           The description of those who “seek” (vqb) Jehovah is comparable. In addition to seeking the Lord in relation to specific requests (2 Samuel l2:16; 21:1; Ezra 8:21-23; Daniel 8:15; 9:3), some texts indicate that all believers seek Him (Zephaniah 1:4-6; Psalm 83:16—cf. the specific seeking after the Messiah, Malachi 3:1), other texts identify believers who are right with God, rather than backslidden believers, as those who seek Him (2 Chronicles 7:14; 15:2-4), and in many instances both the conversion of unsaved individuals and the restoration of those who already are the spiritual people of God can be in view (cf. the complete list of relevant verses: Exodus 10:11; 33:7; Deuteronomy 4:29; 2 Samuel 12:16; 21:1; 1 Chronicles 16:10–11; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 15:4, 15; 20:4; 22:9; Ezra 8:21–23; Psalm 27:8; 40:16; 69:6; 83:16; 105:3–4; Proverbs 2:4; 14:6; 15:14; 28:5; Isaiah 45:19; 51:1; 65:1; Jeremiah 29:13; 50:4; Daniel 8:15; 9:3; Hosea 3:5; 5:6, 15; 7:10; Zephaniah 1:6; 2:3; Zechariah 8:21–22; Malachi 3:1).

While a higher percentage of texts where people “seek” (vrd) Jehovah refer to specific tasks (Genesis 25:22; Exodus 18:15, etc.) than do the references with the verb vqb, with vrd also certain texts indicate that all those who are saved seek God (Psalm 10:4; 14:2; 53:2; Isaiah 55:6; 65:1, 10; note also saved Gentiles seeking the Messiah, Isaiah 11:10), while others demonstrate that not all the redeemed seek after the Lord as they ought to (1 Chronicles 15:13; 2 Chronicles 16:12; 26:5). Note the complete list of relevant texts: Genesis 25:22; Exodus 18:15; Deuteronomy 4:29; 12:5; 1 Kings 22:5, 7–8; 2 Kings 1:3, 6, 16; 3:11; 8:8; 22:13, 18; 1 Chronicles 10:14; 13:3; 15:13; 16:11; 21:30; 22:19; 28:8–9; 2 Chronicles 1:5; 12:14; 14:4, 7; 15:2, 12–13; 16:12; 17:3–4; 18:4, 6–7; 19:3; 20:3; 22:9; 30:19; 31:21; 32:31; 34:3, 21, 26; Ezra 4:2; 6:21; 7:10; Job 5:8; Psalm 9:10; 10:4; 14:2; 22:26; 34:4, 10; 53:2; 69:32; 77:2; 78:34; 105:4; 119:2, 10; Is 8:19; 9:13; 11:10; 31:1; 55:6; 58:2; 65:1, 10; Jerermiah 10:21; 21:2; 29:13; 37:7; Lamentations 3:25; Ezekiel 14:3, 7, 10; 20:1, 3, 31; 36:37; Hosea 10:12; Amos 5:4–6, 14; Zephaniah 1:6. Note also the verses that employ both vqb and vrd, often in parallelism: Deuteronomy 4:29; Judges 6:29; 1 Samuel 28:7; Isaiah 65:1; Jerermiah 29:13; Ezekiel 34:6; Zephaniah 1:6; Psalm 24:6; 38:13; 105:4; Job 10:6; Proverbs 11:27; 1 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 22:9.

[178]           The verb gws is employed. The immediate context of both Psalm 53:3 and Zephaniah 1:6 make it clear that the backslider is unconverted in these passages (cf. also Romans 3:12). The complete list of gws texts is: Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17; 2 Samuel 1:22; Psalm 35:4; 40:14; 44:18; 53:3; 70:2; 78:57; 80:18; 129:5; Proverbs 14:14; 22:28; 23:10; Isaiah 42:17; 50:5; 59:13–14; Jeremiah 38:22; 46:5; Hosea 5:10; Micah 2:6; 6:14; Zephaniah 1:6. The verb is related to gyIs, “dross” (Psalm 119:119; Proverbs 25:4; 26:23; Isaiah 1:22, 25; Ezekiel 22:18–19), as dross is that which is turned away or cast aside in the process of refining metal; cf. wäøl gy¢Ic_y`Ik, 1 Kings 18:27.

[179]           :bwáøf vy∞Ia wy#DlDoEm…wŒ b¡El g…wâs oA;bVcˆy∑ wy∞Dk∂r√;dIm

[180]           The verb gws is also employed here; it is in the Qal both in Psalm 80:18 and in Psalm 53:3. The Qal also appears in Proverbs 14:14, where the passive participle g…ws is translated “the backslider.” In the Hiphil the verb means “to cause something to go back” or “to remove” (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:27; Proverbs 22:28; 23:10; Hosea 5:10; Micah 6:14); compare the Hophal in Isaiah 59:14.

[181]           Compare gws in the Niphal in 2 Samuel 1:22; Psalm 35:4; 40:14; 44:18; 70:2; 78:57; 129:5; Isaiah 42:17; 59:13; Jeremiah 38:22; 46:5; Micah 2:6; Zephaniah 1:6. Note that in Jeremiah 38:22; 46:5 a literal turning back is in view (cf. also Psalm 35:4; 40:14; 70:2; 78:57; 129:5).

[182]           The mediatorial Son of Man (M∂dDa_NR;b) of Psalm 80:17 is God’s Anointed, His Messiah, the wøjyIvVm of Psalm 20:6, who is the “man of Thy right hand” (ÔK¡RnyIm◊y vy∞Ia) in Psalm 80:17 in that He is the One who sits at Jehovah’s right hand as Prophet, Priest, and King (cf. Psalm 110:1), and He is that Son of Man, the M∂dDa_NR;b, the second Adam through whom the dominion of man over the earth will be restored according to Psalm 8:4 (cf. Hebrews 2:6-9), and the One foreseen in Daniel 7:13: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man [v™DnTa r¶AbV;k] came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.”

[183]           :yItáOg…ws◊n añøl rwäøjDa yItyóîrDm aâøl y™IkOnDa◊w N‰z$Oa y∞Il_j`AtDÚp ‹hˆOwh◊y y§DnOdSa. Jehovah is the Speaker in v. 5 (cf. Isaiah 50:1), yet He is sent by a distinct Person who is also Jehovah (v. 4-5) and becomes incarnate to suffer the scorn of men and bring them salvation (v. 6-9) as the servant of Jehovah (v. 10; cf. Isaiah 52:13-53:12).

[184]           …wn¡E;bIl rwâøjDa gwâøsÎn_aøl

[185]           The texts examined below generally speak of backsliding with the word hDb…wvVm (Proverbs 1:32; Jeremiah 2:19; 3:6, 8, 11–12, 22; 5:6; 8:5; 14:7; Hosea 11:7; 14:5).

[186]           Texts speaking of the backsliding of Israel also illustrate that not individuals alone, but also the entirety of God’s institution of public worship may be backslidden (cf. Jeremiah 2:19); thus, one can appropriately speak of the entire nation of Israel as backslidden at various times in the Old Testament and as right with God at other times (cf. Judges 10:6-16, etc.); likewise one can appropriately refer to a church in the dispensation of grace as right with God (Revelation 2:8-11; 3:7-13) or as backslidden (Revelation 2:1-7).

[187]           Psalm 53:3 is an instance in which all men, by virtue of their fall in Adam, have backslidden (gws) from their former state of rectitude in the loins of their progenitor, racial representative, and federal head.

[188]           ‹MyIbDbwøv My§InDb; bDbwøvis also employed for backsliding in Jeremiah 3:22; 50:6; Isaiah 57:17.

[189]           Compare, for a New Testament doctrine of backsliding, the discussion of terms relating to spiritual weakness in the section “Vivification as Strengthening” above.

[190]           hJ ga»r kardi÷a sou oujk e¶stin eujqei√a e˙nw¿pion touv Qeouv; Simon’s heart was not “straight, direct . . . in moral sense, straightforward . . . opp[osite] skolio/ß” (LSJ), that is, his heart was not “proper, right” but “morally bent or twisted” (BDAG, eujqu/ß, skolio/ß). The eujqu/ß/skolio/ß contrast is only employed in the New Testament of the contrast between the regenerate and the unregenerate (cf. Acts 13:10; 2 Peter 2:15 with Acts 2:40; Philippians 2:15; 1 Peter 2:18; the literal references to the words appear in Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4–5 (eujqu/ß) and Luke 3:5, skolio/ß). Compare also eujqu/nw (John 1:23; James 3:4). On the other hand, not all believers faithfully make “straight paths” for their feet (trocia»ß ojrqa»ß, Hebrews 12:13; cf. Acts 14:10 for the only other use of ojrqo/ß).

[191]           kaqaro/ß.

[192]           aÓgaqo/ß.

[193]           Acts 15:7-9 reads: And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. pollhvß de« suzhth/sewß genome÷nhß aÓnasta»ß Pe÷troß ei•pe pro\ß aujtou/ß, ⁄Andreß aÓdelfoi÷, uJmei√ß e˙pi÷stasqe o¢ti aÓf∆ hJmerw◊n aÓrcai÷wn oJ Qeo\ß e˙n hJmi√n e˙xele÷xato, dia» touv sto/mato/ß mou aÓkouvsai ta» e¶qnh to\n lo/gon touv eujaggeli÷ou, kai« pisteuvsai. kai« oJ kardiognw¿sthß Qeo\ß e˙martu/rhsen aujtoi√ß, dou\ß aujtoi√ß to\ Pneuvma to\ ›Agion, kaqw»ß kai« hJmi√n: kai« oujde«n die÷krine metaxu\ hJmw◊n te kai« aujtw◊n, thØv pi÷stei kaqari÷saß ta»ß kardi÷aß aujtw◊n. The passage clearly refers in context to the definitive cleansing that takes place at the moment of faith and regeneration, not to progressive sanctification (as erroneously affirmed, among others, by Robert Pearsall Smith; see, e. g., pg. 92, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875; also, pg. 71, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Charles Harford: “Faith in sanctification . . . is precisely the same faculty as that exercised in receiving remission, and its exercise is quite as simple as then; but it now takes another direction. And this direction figures very largely in the Scriptures in the matter of the Christian’s victory over sin, or deliverance from it . . . see e.g. Acts xv. 9[.]”). At the same moment, the Gentiles heard (aÓkouvsai), believed (pisteuvsai), were witnessed to or attested to by God (e˙martu/rhsen) by being given (dou\ß) the Holy Ghost, had no difference put (die÷krine) between them and the Jews, and had their hearts purified (kaqari÷saß), namely, at the moment of faith, the faith whereby they came to trust in Christ, not faith wherein they were to live their Christian lives. Note the aorist tense of all the verbs. The Gentiles received an inward evangelical purification at the time of their conversion, a purification which the Old Testament ceremony of circumcision could only symbolize and point towards.

[194]           One could paraphrase the verse: “Since you have purified your soul by being born again, love with a pure heart.” ta»ß yuca»ß uJmw◊n hJgniko/teß e˙n thØv uJpakohØv thvß aÓlhqei÷aß dia» Pneu/matoß ei˙ß filadelfi÷an aÓnupo/kriton, e˙k kaqara◊ß kardi÷aß aÓllh/louß aÓgaph/sate e˙ktenw◊ß:

[195]           pwro/w is employed both for the hardness of the believer’s heart as a result of his remaining indwelling sin and for the unchangeably dominant (although it can grow stronger through more active rebellion to God) inclination of the unregenerate man’s heart; note the complete list of New Testament texts: Mark 6:52; 8:17; John 12:40; Romans 11:7; 2 Corinthians 3:14. In contrast, the verb sklhru/nw is employed only of the hard-heartedness of the unregenerate in the New Testament (Acts 19:9; Romans 9:18; Hebrews 3:8, 13, 15; 4:7; however, note the uses of sklhrokardi÷a, Matthew 19:8; Mark 10:5; 16:14).

[196]           While a definite right with God/not right with God distinction is taught in many passages that speak about the heart (kardi÷a), there are likewise many texts that associate the “heart” with the progressive aspect of sanctification; for example, while Christ is already in all believer’s hearts (Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 13:5), progressive sanctification results in an increase in His special presence in the heart (Ephesians 3:17), just as it results in a greater measure of grace in the heart (Colossians 3:16) and progressive establishment of the believer’s heart in unblameable holiness (1 Thessalonians 3:13; cf. Hebrews 13:9).

[197]           o¢ti e˙a»n kataginw¿skhØ hJmw◊n hJ kardi÷a, o¢ti mei÷zwn e˙sti«n oJ Qeo\ß thvß kardi÷aß hJmw◊n, kai« ginw¿skei pa¿nta. aÓgaphtoi÷, e˙a»n hJ kardi÷a hJmw◊n mh\ kataginw¿skhØ hJmw◊n, parrhsi÷an e¶comen pro\ß to\n Qeo/n. The verb kataginw¿skw, to “lay a charge against, convict, condemn” (see LSJ), is employed only in 1 John 3:20-21 and Galatians 2:11, where kategnwsme÷noß h™n is translated “he was to be blamed.”

[198]           Note the distinction between the present tense of kaqari÷zw for the cleansing that accompanies a continued walk in the light in 1 John 1:7 (kaqari÷zei) and the aorist tense of in 1 John 1:9 (kaqari÷shØ) for the cleansing of sins that are in particular confessed. But note also: “[W]e would advert to a flagrant misapplication of a text in [1 John], which occurs in almost every [of the Keswick and Higher Life] books before us: “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” We have often of late been pained to hear this precious text misquoted and misapplied by a different class of men from those with whom we are now dealing. The contextual condition being overlooked, and the all-important personal pronoun us being omitted, the text is frequently used by evangelists as if it taught the immediate pardon of all the sins of the sinner, on his acceptance fo Christ as his Saviour. This is a wrong use of the text, but still a use of it in support of a great truth of which the Bible is full. But the [Higher Life] writers . . . pervert it utterly when they make it refer to their perfection of sanctification, or to sanctification at all. It does not teach the justification of the sinner, neither does it teach the sanctification of the believer, but it teaches the continuous acceptance of the saint, notwithstanding the imperfection of his holiness. Instead of teaching the [Keswick] doctrine in support of which it is so often quoted, it so distinctly implies the opposite, that it would have no meaning if that doctrine were true, unless, indeed, there be meaning in cleansing the clean” (pg. 274, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280).

[199]           aÓnaxi÷wß. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:2, aÓna¿xioß.

[200]           dokima¿zw. Such examination should be done with reference to an upright Christian walk, and being right with God in such a sense (1 Corinthians 11:28), and with reference to one’s particular works as a believer (Galatians 6:4; Ephesians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Examination should also be undertaken with reference to one’s state as regenerate or unregenerate, and thus to being right with God as opposed to being an object of His wrath (2 Corinthians 13:5), and to the claims of spiritual leaders (1 John 4:1).

[201]           aÓxio/w. Compare the other references to the verb in the NT in Luke 7:7; Acts 15:38; 28:22; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 3:3; 10:29. All believers, in a different sense, are worthy (kataxio/w); see Luke 20:35; 21:36; this sense also likely appears in Acts 5:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:5.

[202]           aÓxi÷wß, here with peripate÷w, as in Ephesians 2:10. Exhortations with peripate÷w (4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15) form the divisions of the half of Ephesians devoted to application, chapters 4-6, and they build from the statement in 2:10, which itself is placed in contrast with the peripate÷w of the unregenerate in 2:2. Compare Colossians 1:10; 2:6; 3:7; 4:5.

[203]           That is, in terms of Hebrews 10:22, when their hearts are not sprinkled from an evil concscience, and their bodies washed in pure water.

[204]           Cf. Exposition of Hebrews, John Owen, on Hebrews 10:22.

[205]           In Luke 22:31-32, Christ says: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Si÷mwn, Si÷mwn, i˙dou/, oJ Satana◊ß e˙xhØth/sato uJma◊ß, touv sinia¿sai wJß to\n si√ton: e˙gw» de« e˙deh/qhn peri« souv, iºna mh\ e˙klei÷phØ hJ pi÷stiß sou: kai« su/ pote e˙pistre÷yaß sth/rixon tou\ß aÓdelfou/ß sou.). The fact that Peter’s faith would not fail was due to the intercession of Christ, and his turning again from a backslidden state was not an “if,” but a “when,” also as a result of the intercession of his Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). Compare Christ’s intercession for those who literally placed Him on the cross (Luke 23:34) and their coming to faith (Luke 23:47; Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39).

[206]           sunei÷dhsiß; see John 8:9; Acts 23:1; 24:16; Romans 2:15; 9:1; 13:5; 1 Corinthians 8:7, 10, 12; 10:25, 27–29; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 4:2; 5:11; 1 Timothy 1:5, 19; 3:9; 4:2; 2 Timothy 1:3; Titus 1:15; Hebrews 9:9, 14; 10:2, 22; 13:18; 1 Peter 2:19; 3:16, 21.

[207]           The “brother” of 1 Corinthians 8:7-12 could either be a genuine Christian or a mere professing “brother” (cf. Acts 1:16; 2:29, 37; 3:17; 13:26; Hebrews 3:12, etc. for “brethren” referring to fellow Jews, or mere professors, rather than specifically to true believers), as evidenced by 8:11.

[208]           kaqari÷zw, Hebrews 9:14; cf. 1 John 1:7, 9.

[209]           While Hebrews 9-10 specifically contrasts the conscience of those in the Mosaic dispensation with those in the dispensation of grace, so that the repeated animal sacrifices constantly brought sin to remembrance for those in the Old Testament, unlike those who have their sin removed once and for all through the sacrifice of Christ, the point about the individual conscience of the New Testament saint who is right with God being clean, free from the remembrance of sin, is still valid, although one could well say that all believers in the New Testament have had their conscience purged by the blood of Christ in the sense that they have all been justified, positionally sanctified, and legally “perfected forever” (Hebrews 10:10-14).

[210]           For example, Jesse Mercer, in an 1806 Circular for the Georgia Baptist Association, spoke of “[t]hat restraint which a Christian[,] when right with God, places on the passions and propensities of the carnal heart, by which he subdues and maintains the victory over them; and secondly, that government which he exercises over the members of his body, by which he sanctifies them for, and employs them[,] in the service of God.” (History of the Georgia Baptist Association, by Jesse Mercer, Part 3, “Circular Letters,” Circular #10. Elec. acc. Baptist History Collection CD). In the seventeeth century, Baptist preacher Thomas Patient prayed that his fellow Christian (Oliver Cromwell here in particular) would continue in a state of uprightness or rightness before God:

My constant prayers are at the throne of grace for you, that you may be kept upright with God, and in nothing left to sin and dishonour God; his name being so much concerned in it. Therefore, as God hath formerly given you the experience of the benefit of a humble walking with God, I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, still keep a close watch over your own heart, and labour to walk under the sense of that body of death and your daily infirmities, and to see a need of godly repentance daily, and humiliation, and fresh strength from Christ by faith, by which you may be kept and preserved in a fresh, sweet, and comfortable communion with God; for his presence will be all your happiness. Be sure to prize God’s holy word, and all the rest of God’s holy ordinances, and in so much as may be, neglect not to practise them, that you by your constant godly example may provoke others to holiness and to the fear of the Lord. And remember that the apostle bids, “Exhort one another daily, lest any be hardened through the deceitfullness of sin.” Though you have ancient acquaintance with God and with your own heart, yet, say as David saith; Lord, leave me not when I am old and grey headed. Rest not in grace received, nor too much on former experiences, so as to neglect your future growth and progress in the ways of God. Apply that promise in Job 17; where God saith; The righteous shall grow stronger and stronger, and he that hath clean hands shall hold on his way. And know, it must be a special power of God that must keep you up to the will of God, to his honour and your comfort. And this, in the simplicity of my very heart, I desire may be in my own heart, and yours, and all that love God in sincerity and truth. (“Thomas Patient to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Chief General if the Parliament’s forces in Scotland, From Kilkenny, April 15, 1650, in Confessions of Faith and Other Public Documents, Underhill, Elec. acc. Baptist History Collection CD; cf. J. M. Cramp, Baptist History, Chapter 4, “The Troublous Period,” (1567-1688).)

John Bunyan, in his 1675 Catechism, wrote: “Is there any other whose prayer God refuseth?-A. Yes; ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me‘ (Psa 66:18)” (pg. 687, Instructions for the Ignorant, John Bunyan, vol. 2) to which Bunyan’s editor correctly noted, “That our prayers may be heard, the heart should be right with God, and our souls at peace with him through the Son of his love” (footnote #18, ibid).

                Baptists likewise employed “right with God” terminology to contrast the regenerate and the unregenerate, a different sort of distinction from that between the upright and backslidden believer, but certainly a legitimate one. For instance, the famous nineteenth century Baptist pastor Charles Spurgeon preached: “Get right with God; confess thy sin; believe in Jesus Christ, the appointed Savior; be reconciled to God by the death of his Son; then all will be right between thee and the Father in heaven. We cannot bring men to this, apart from the Spirit of God” (“Is God In The Camp?” Sermon #2239, delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, April 9, 1891). While Spurgeon usually spoke of being right with God as a result of conversion, he also declared: “Brethren, let us look well to our own steadfastness in the faith, our own holy walking with God. . . . [A] sane and practical love of others . . . leads us to be mindful of our own spiritual state. Desiring to do its level best, and to use its own self in the highest degree to God’s glory, the true heart seeks to be in all things right with God” (An All-Around Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students, section “What Would We Be?” elec. acc. Charles Spurgeon Collection CD Library, AGES Digital Software).

[211]           The language itself is employed historically all the way back to the Ante-Nicene period, so that, for example, in the early third century, Hippolytus could write: “He who knows the wisdom of God, receives from Him also instruction, and learns by it the mysteries of the Word; and they who know the true heavenly wisdom will easily understand the words of these mysteries . . . for things spoken in strange language by the Holy Spirit become intelligible to those who have their hearts right with God” (On Proverbs, in Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, ed. Schaff).

[212]           For example, Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote: “Spirituality is not a future ideal; it is to be experienced now. The vital question is, ‘Am I walking in the Spirit now?’ . . . Much of everyone’s life will be lived in the uneventful commonplace; but even there the believer should have conviction that he is right with God and in His unbroken fellowship” (Systematic Theology, vol. 6, pg. 295).

[213]           For example, the Heidelberg Catechism, Q/A 21, states: “True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in his Word is true. It is also a deep-rooted assurance, created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, that, out of sheer grace, earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation.” At the moment of regeneration, the Catechism affirms that the believer is made “forever right with God.” A reference to this catechectical statement is the only reference to being “right with God” in a theology such as Herman Bavinck’s massive Reformed Dogmatics (see vol. 4, Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, pg. 114, footnote #45). Andrew Naselli, in his doctoral dissertation Keswick Theology: A Historical and Theological Survey and Analysis of the Doctrine of Sanctification in the Early Keswick Movement, 1875-1920 (Bob Jones University, 1996), attacking the Keswick theology from within a Reformed theological trajectory, never affirms the existence of the “right with God” distinction, and even goes so far as to claim that Keswick “errs primarily by emphasizing a crisis of consecration and Spirit-filling” (pg. 240, ibid), when the fact that not all believers are filled with the Spirit and backslidden believers need to consecrate themselves anew to God are clearly Scriptural, and Naselli errs when he claims that the preaching of consecration and of Spirit-filling requires “a theologically errant premise that chronologically separates justification and sanctification” (pg. 240, ibid).

[214]           See “Excursus VIII: An Analysis of Keswick Theology as Set Forth In So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention, by Steven Barabas” below.

[215]        E. g., for the Keswick leader Evan Hopkins, “what Scripture denominates the perfect heart [is] the heart entirely loyal, so far as it understands itself and apprehends the requirements of the Lord” (pg. 70, Evan Harry Hopkins: A Memoir, Alexander Smellie). “The Smiths [Hannah W. & Robert P.] . . . hold that every Christian who takes Christ as his sanctification is kept from all consciousness of sin” (pg. 269, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280; see pgs. 39-40, 65-66 of Holiness by Faith by Robert P. Smith, and Thomas Smith’s critique on pgs. 269-274 of “Means and Measure of Holiness.”).

[216]           John Owen, speaking of communion with Christ, properly noted:

[Believers must] continually keep alive upon their hearts a sense of the guilt and evil of sin; even then when they are under some comfortable persuasions of their personal acceptance with God. Sense of pardon takes away the horror and fear, but not a due sense of the guilt of sin. It is the daily exercise of the saints of God, to consider the great provocation that is in sin,—their sins, the sin of their nature and lives; to render themselves vile in their own hearts and thoughts on that account; to compare it with the terror of the Lord; and to judge themselves continually. This they do in general. “My sin is ever before me,” says David. They set sin before them, not to terrify and affright their souls with it, but that a due sense of the evil of it may be kept alive upon their hearts. (“How the saints hold communion with Christ as to their acceptation with God,” Chapter 8 in Of Communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, John Owen)

[217]           E. g., “[H]e abides in utter unconcern and perfect rest . . . perfect abandonment of ease and comfort . . . the Higher Christian Life” (Chapter 3, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, Hannah W. Smith).

[218]           That is, “Set your heart on your ways” (KJV margin; :M`RkyEk√rå;d_lAo M™RkVbAbVl …wmy¶Ic).

[219]           See The Nature, Power, Deceit, and Prevalency of the Remainders of Indwelling Sin in Believers, John Owen.

[220]           The love of John 17:23 is specifically for Christ as the Theanthropos, rather than for the eternal Son considered simply as the eternally begotten One in the Godhead. The Father loves the elect as He does that truly human Mediator to whom they have been gloriously united.

[221]           The words involved are gumna¿zw (1 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 5:14; 12:11; 2 Peter 2:14), gumnasi÷a (1 Timothy 4:8),

[222]           tou\ß de« bebh/louß kai« graw¿deiß mu/qouß paraitouv. gu/mnaze de« seauto\n pro\ß eujse÷beian: hJ ga»r swmatikh\ gumnasi÷a pro\ß ojli÷gon e˙sti«n wÓfe÷limoß: hJ de« eujse÷beia pro\ß pa¿nta wÓfe÷limoß e˙stin, e˙paggeli÷an e¶cousa zwhvß thvß nuvn kai« thvß mellou/shß. (1 Timothy 4:7-8).

[223]           Thus, gumna¿zw is “to experience vigorous training and control, with the implication of increased physical and/or moral strength — ‘to train, to undergo discipline’” or “to control oneself by thorough discipline — ‘to discipline oneself, to keep oneself disciplined’” (Louw-Nida, gumna¿zw, 36.11; 88.88).

[224]           te÷leioß, “pertaining to being mature, full-grown, mature, adult . . . pertaining to being fully developed in a moral sense” (BDAG, def. #2, 4).

[225]           eºxiß in Hebrews 5:14 indicates an “acquired habit . . . trained habit, skill” (Liddell-Scott, def. #3), “a repeated activity — ‘practice, doing again and again, doing repeatedly’” (Louw-Nida).

[226]           The passage specifically states that the mature have their “senses exercised to discern both good and evil . . . by reason of use,” in contrast with the immature, without specifically and directly stating that the transition takes place by means of the exercise, but the fact is nonetheless indubitably implied.

[227]           The perfect participle gegumnasme÷noiß in Hebrews 12:11 indicates that the resultant state of possessing a spiritually exercised or spiritually strengthened state resulted from the externally presented action of a correct response to chastening.

[228]           kardi÷an gegumnasme÷nhn pleonexi÷aiß e¶conteß. The perfect participle indicates the state of a more wicked heart that resulted from the exercise of evil. Such exercise in evil can lead to the unregenerate being all the more unable to “cease from sin” (aÓkatapau/stouß aJmarti÷aß, 2 Peter 2:14), while the opposite sort of exercise by the righteous leads them to progressively greater difficulty sinning and greater ease and higher degrees of obedience.

[229]           Pg. 267, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280.

[230]           That is, he is oJ aÓgwnizo/menoß, the present tense conveying the continual action. The “striving” connected with spiritual life in the New Testament is regulary connected with the present tense and conveys continual action (1 Corinthians 9:25; Colossians 1:29; 4:12; 1 Timothy 6:12). A definite difference between aÓgwni÷zomai in the present and in the aorist is apparent in the Koiné; compare, in the LXX, the aorists in 1 Maccabees 7:21; 2 Maccabees 8:16; 13:14; Sirach 4:28 with the present in 2 Maccabees 15:27, or the aorists in 1 Clement 35:4; 2 Clement 7:1–3 and the present tenses in 2 Clement 7:4 & Barnabas 4:11 among the apostolic patristics.

[231]           Note pukteu/w, “to fight with fists, box” (BDAG), to “box, spar” (Liddell-Scott); cf. Testament of Job 4:10, kai« e¶shØ wJß aÓqlhth\ß pukteu/wn kai« karterw◊n po/nouß kai« e˙kdeco/menoß to\n ste÷fanon, “For you will be like a sparring athlete, enduring pain and receiving the crown,” or Philo, On the Preliminary Studies 48.

[232]           ou¢tw pukteu/w, wJß oujk aÓe÷ra de÷rwn: aÓll∆ uJpwpia¿zw mou to\ sw◊ma kai« doulagwgw◊, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

[233]           The verb uJpwpia¿zw, found in 1 Corinthians 9:27 and Luke 18:5 and translated “keep under” and “weary” in those texts, means “to blacken an eye, give a black eye, strike in the face,” and by extension “to bring someone to submission by constant annoyance, wear down” or “to put under strict discipline, punish, treat roughly, torment” (BDAG; cf. Liddell-Scott).

[234]           Paul brings his body into subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27) with the verb doulagwge÷w, meaning “enslave, subjugate . . . mak[e] a slave out of” (BDAG), “make a slave, treat as such” (Liddell-Scott), for so vice would not enslave him as it did the unregenerate (Apology of Justin Martyr 2:11). One subdues (doulagwge÷w) men by beheading them, crucifying them, throwing them to wild beasts, and with chains, fire, and all other kinds of torture (Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho 110).

[235]           The English verb to agonize is related etymologically to the Greek verb under discussion, agonidzomai (aÓgwni÷zomai).

[236]           Thus, note the use of e˙ne÷rgeia and e˙nerge÷w in Colossians 1:29 for God’s supernaturally energizing and working in the believer to will and exert energy to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13, oJ Qeo\ß ga¿r e˙stin oJ e˙nergw◊n e˙n uJmi√n kai« to\ qe÷lein kai« to\ e˙nergei√n uJpe«r thvß eujdoki÷aß). Compare the other texts that refer to the energizing and working of the Father (1 Corinthians 12:6; Ephesians 1:3, 19-20, 3:20; Colossians 1:29), the Son (Ephesians 4:16; Philippians 3:21), the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11), and the undifferentiated Trinity (Galatians 2:8; Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 2:12) in believers, and the association of this working with the Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The Head of the body, the church, energizes the members of His body to work, and as they work, because of His working in them, individual growth and corporate growth in the congregation takes place (Ephesians 4:15-16).

[237]           Of course, Colossians 4:12 speaks of Epaphras’ fervent labor in prayer for others, not his own labor to grow in grace, but the text nevertheless illustrates the nature of the verb aÓgwni÷zomai, which in other texts is more directly related to one’s personal mortification of sin and vivification.

[238]           The sword (ma¿caira) of the Word is the Christian’s only offensive fighting weapon. It is noteworthy how the abundance of athletic struggle imagery in sanctification contrasts with the paucity of imagery of physical warfare—while the ma¿caira of the Word appears in Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12, words like poleme÷w, po/lemoß, ma¿comai, ma¿ch, or diama¿comai, although all present in the New Testament, are not employed of the believer’s holy struggle with sin. It appears that the wholesome and profitable nature of bodily exercise (1 Timothy 4:8) made its terms more fit to describe sanctification than terms for the wretched evil of the butchery of men in the warfare of nations.

[239]           The imagery of “running” (tre÷cw) for the Christian life is thus employed in 1 Corinthians 9:24, 26; Galatians 2:2; 5:7; Philippians 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Hebrews 12:1.

[240]           aÓntikaqi÷sthmi, “to resist by actively opposing pressure or power” (Louw-Nida).

[241]           aÓntagwni÷zomai, “struggle against” (BDAG; Liddell-Scott). The present participle indicates continual striving. The believing Hebrews were already striving against sin, and Paul exhorted them to do so even up to the point of violent death and the shedding of their own blood. They were not to “faint” in this struggle (Hebrews 12:5).

[242]           e˙pagwni÷zomai, “to extert intense effort on behalf of something, contend. [The verb is] used in athletic imagery[.] . . . The primary semantic component in the use of this verb in Jude 3 is the effort expended by the subject in a noble cause; as such it is the counterpart of the author’s pa◊san spoudh\n poiou/menoß and a manifestation of aÓreth/” (BDAG). Philo employs the verb of one who “still strives on, in no way remitting his intense anxiety, but without admitting any excuse, or any hesitation, or vacillation; using all the means in his power to gain his object” (On the Posterity and Exile of Cain 13: o¢mwß e˙pagwniei√tai mhde«n sunto/nou spoudhvß aÓniei÷ß, aÓlla» pa◊si toi√ß par∆ e˚autouv ei˙ß to\ tucei√n aÓprofasi÷stwß kai« aÓo/knwß sugcrw¿menoß).

[243]           aÓgw¿n, “contest, race . . . a struggle against opposition, struggle, fight” (BDAG). See Philippians 1:30; Colossians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1.

[244]           qhriomace÷w; compare Josephus, Antiquities 16:137 (h™n ou™n eujqu\ß e˙n kaqierw¿sei mei÷zoneß e˚ortai« kai« paraskeuai« polutele÷statai kathgge÷lkei me«n ga»r aÓgw◊na mousikhvß kai« gumnikw◊n aÓqlhma¿twn pareskeua¿kei de« polu\ plhvqoß monoma¿cwn kai« qhri÷wn iºppwn te dro/mon kai« ta» polutele÷stera tw◊n e¶n te thØv ÔRw¿mhØ kai« par∆ a‡lloiß tisi«n e˙pithdeuma¿twn; There was accordingly a great festival, and most sumptuous preparations made presently, in order to its dedication; for he had appointed a contention in music, and games to be performed naked; he had also gotten ready a great number of those that fight single combats, and of beasts for the like purpose; horse races also, and the most chargeable of such sports and shows as used to be exhibited at Rome, and in other places.).

[245]           pa¿lh, Liddell-Scott. Compare the uses in Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 125 and Philo, Allegorical Interpretation 3:190 for Jacob’s wrestling (pa¿lh) with God in Genesis 32, and, Philo alleges, against his passions and for virtue (On Sobriety 65; On the Change of Names 14).

[246]           cf. aÓgw¿n, Liddell-Scott; cf. Wisdom 4:2; 2 Maccabees 4:18; 2 Clement 7:1-5.

[247]           While one can hardly say that these diminutives are exclusive, so that by employing a lesser one Paul would have, if asked, denied the greater, it is noteworthy that, comparing Paul’s earlier to his later epistles, as the great saint grows in holiness and thus humility, he designates himself first as “least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle” (1 Corinthians 15:9), then later “less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8), and finally “chief . . . [of] sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

[248]           That is, to há∂q∂dVx; however, in continuity with the example of Abraham, Noah is mentioned as a “just man” (qyöî;dAx vy¶Ia) because Jehovah could say, “for thee have I seen righteous before me” (y™AnDpVl qyñî;dAx yIty¢Ia∂r ñÔKVtOa) earlier (Genesis 6:9; 7:1) in the first references to the qdx word group in the canon, where Noah was the recipient of undeserved and free grace (Genesis 6:8), was accounted a righteous man on that basis, and therefore became a holy man (Genesis 6:9).

[249]           :há∂q∂dVx wäø;l Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw h¡DOwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w

kai« e˙pi÷steusen Abram tw◊ˆ qew◊ˆ kai« e˙logi÷sqh aujtw◊ˆ ei˙ß dikaiosu/nhn “And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness” (LXX).

Credidit Abram Deo, et reputatum est illi ad justitiam. “Abram believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice.” (Vulgate)

:…wkÎzVl hyEl hAbvAj◊w ywyåd a∂rVmyEmVb NyEmyEh◊w “Then he believed in the Word of the Lord, and he reckoned it to him for merit.” (Targum Onkelos)

:wkzl hyl tbvjtaw yyyd armm Mvb Mrba Nmyyhw“Then Abram believed in the name of the Word of the Lord, and it was reckoned to him for merit.” (Targum Neofiti)

Nylymb hymql jfa ald wkzl hyl hbvjw yyyd armymb atwnmyh hyl twwhw “Then he had faith in the Word of the Lord, and he reckoned it to him for merit, because he did not speak rebellion before him with words.” (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan)

[250]           “[T]he believing of which Moses speaks, is not to be restricted to a single clause of the promise here referred to, but embraces the whole; secondly that Abram did not form his estimate of the promised seed from this oracle alone, but also from others, where a special benediction is added. Whence we infer that he did not expect some common or undefined seed, but that in which the world was to be blessed. . . . [T]his promise was not taken by him separately from others. . . . God does not promise to his servant this or the other thing only, as he sometimes grants special benefits to unbelievers, who are without the taste of his paternal love; but he declares, that He will be propitious to him, and confirms him in the confidence of safety, by relying upon His protection and His grace. For he who has God for his inheritance does not exult in fading joy; but, as one already elevated towards heaven, enjoys the solid happiness of eternal life. It is, indeed, to be maintained as an axiom, that all the promises of God, made to the faithful, flow from the free mercy of God, and are evidences of that paternal love, and of that gratuitous adoption, on which their salvation is founded. Therefore, we do not say that Abram was justified because he laid hold on a single word, respecting the offspring to be brought forth, but because he embraced God as his Father” (Calvin, Commentary on Genesis 15:6).

[251]           Consider that the One communicating with Abraham was Jehovah the Son, for He is the One who revealed the Father (John 1:18) in all the Old Testament theophanies.

[252]           John 8:56. Galatians 3:16 is very clear that Abraham’s faith had respect to the Christ, who was not only the representative, but the embodiment of the promised race—for this cause the people of Israel typified Christ (cf. Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1).

[253]           Romans 4:3-5 (Abram was “ungodly” until his conversion by faith in the land of Ur); Joshua 24:2-4; Genesis 15:7; Hebrews 11:8-10; Acts 7:2-4.

[254]           Calvin, in his Commentary on Genesis, fitly notes:

Abram was justified by faith many years after he had been called by God; after he had left his country a voluntary exile, rendering himself a remarkable example of patience and of continence; after he had entirely dedicated himself to sanctity and after he had, by exercising himself in the spiritual and external service of God, aspired to a life almost angelical. It therefore follows, that even to the end of life, we are led towards the eternal kingdom of God by the righteousness of faith. On which point many are too grossly deceived. For they grant, indeed, that the righteousness which is freely bestowed upon sinners and offered to the unworthy is received by faith alone; but they restrict this to a moment of time, so that he who at the first obtained justification by faith, may afterwards be justified by good works. By this method, faith is nothing else than the beginning of righteousness, whereas righteousness itself consists in a continual course of works. But they who thus trifle must be altogether insane. For if the angelical uprightness of Abram faithfully cultivated through so many years, in one uniform course, did not prevent him from fleeing to faith, for the sake of obtaining righteousness; where upon earth besides will such perfection be found, as may stand in God’s sight? Therefore, by a consideration of the time in which this was said to Abram, we certainly gather, that the righteousness of works is not to be substituted for the righteousness of faith, in any such way, that one should perfect what the other has begun; but that holy men are only justified by faith, as long as they live in the world. If any one object, that Abram previously believed God, when he followed Him at His call, and committed himself to His direction and guardianship, the solution is ready; that we are not here told when Abram first began to be justified, or to believe in God; but that in this one place it is declared, or related, how he had been justified through his whole life. For if Moses had spoken thus immediately on Abram’s first vocation, the cavil of which I have spoken would have been more specious; namely, that the righteousness of faith was only initial (so to speak) and not perpetual. But now since after such great progress, he is still said to be justified by faith, it thence easily appears that the saints are justified freely even unto death. I confess, indeed, that after the faithful are born again by the Spirit of God, the method of justifying differs, in some respect, from the former. For God reconciles to himself those who are born only of the flesh, and who are destitute of all good; and since he finds nothing in them except a dreadful mass of evils, he counts them just, by imputation. But those to whom he has imparted the Spirit of holiness and righteousness, he embraces with his gifts. Nevertheless, in order that their good works may please God, it is necessary that these works themselves should be justified by gratuitous imputation; [since] some evil is always [naturally] inherent in them. Meanwhile, however, this is a settled point, that men are justified before God by believing not by working; while they obtain grace by faith, because they are unable to deserve a reward by works. Paul also, in hence contending, that Abram did not merit by works the righteousness which he had received before his circumcision, does not impugn the above doctrine. The argument of Paul is of this kind: The circumcision of Abram was posterior to his justification in the order of time, and therefore could not be its cause, for of necessity the cause precedes its effect. . . . Both arguments are therefore of force; first, that the righteousness of Abram cannot be ascribed to the covenant of the law, because it preceded his circumcision; and, secondly, that the righteousness even of the most perfect characters perpetually consists in faith; since Abram, with all the excellency of his virtues, after his daily and even remarkable service of God, was, nevertheless, justified by faith. For this also is, in the last place, worthy of observation, that what is here related concerning one man, is applicable to all the sons of God. For since he was called the father of the faithful, not without reason; and since further, there is but one method of obtaining salvation; Paul properly teaches, that a real [imputed] and not personal righteousness is in this place described. (Commentary on Genesis, 15:6)

As, throughout life, justification is by faith alone, and Genesis 15:6 is an instance of this continuing faith in the patriarch’s life as the perpetual and sole instrumentality for his receipt of legal righteousness, something present in him by Divine grace from the point of his initial conversion in Ur of the Chaldees (cf. Hebrews 11:8-11), so one notes that the Hebrew structure of Genesis 15:6 validates that Abraham’s faith in Jehovah, as expressed in the verse, was not one that arose afresh at that moment, but had been in exercise in the past, from the moment of his conversion, up to that point in time. The waw + perfect form that begins the verse,N™ImTaRh◊w, has an “aspect of . . . repeated or durative action,” as opposed to the simple perfect or qatal form, which has an “aspect . . . of a single and instantaneous action” (pg. 375, 119x, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Paul Joüon & Takamitsu Muraoka, rev. English ed. Leiden: Netherlands Institute of Near Eastern Studies, 2005), so that a “longer or constant continuance in a past state is . . . represented by the perfect with ◊w (as a variety of the frequentative perfect with ◊w), in Gn 15:6, 34:5, Nu 21:20, Jos 9:12; 22:3b, Is 22:14, Jer 3:9” (GKC, 112ss). Continuing belief, arising out of a moment where belief began in the past, is in view in the N™ImTaRh◊w of Genesis 15:6, as the same sort of aspectual force is conveyed in the “held his peace” (vñîrTjRh◊w) of Genesis 34:5, the “which looketh” (hDpä∂qVvˆn◊w) of Numbers 21:20, the “is mouldy” (Myáîdü;qˆn h™DyDh◊w) of Joshua 9:12, the “have kept” (M›R;t√rAmVv…w) of Joshua 22:3, the “was revealed” (h¶Dl◊gˆn◊w) of Isaiah 22:14, and the “came to pass” (‹hÎyDh◊w) of Jeremiah 3:9; compare also the “did eat” (…wôlVk`Da◊w) of Genesis 47:22. Furthermore, since the and he counted it of Genesis 15:6 (Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw) continues with waw consecutive the sequence started by the and he believed (N™ImTaRh◊w), and thus continues the aspectual force of the waw + perfect of and he believed, the continued reckoning of the patriarch as righteous from the past point of his conversion until the time of Genesis 15:6, simply through the instrumentality of faith, is also expressed in the verse (compare the continuing defilement and adultery in the P¶Aa◊nI;tÅw . . . P™AnTjR;tÅw . . . ‹hÎyDh◊w of Jeremiah 3:9).

[255]           Nma. The complete list of texts with the verb is: Genesis 15:6; 42:20; 45:26; Exodus 4:1, 5, 8–9, 31; 14:31; 19:9; Numbers 12:7; 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 7:9; 9:23; 28:59, 66; Judges 11:20; 1 Samuel 2:35; 3:20; 22:14; 25:28; 27:12; 2 Samuel 7:16; 1 Kings 8:26; 10:7; 11:38; 2 Kings 17:14; 1 Chronicles 17:23–24; 2 Chronicles 1:9; 6:17; 9:6; 20:20; 32:15; Nehemiah 9:8; 13:13; Psalms 19:8; 27:13; 78:8, 22, 32, 37; 89:29, 38; 93:5; 101:6; 106:12, 24; 111:7; 116:10; 119:66; Job 4:18; 9:16; 12:20; 15:15, 22, 31; 24:22; 29:24; 39:12, 24; Proverbs 11:13; 14:15; 25:13; 26:25; 27:6; Isaiah 1:21, 26; 7:9; 8:2; 22:23, 25; 28:16; 33:16; 43:10; 49:7; 53:1; 55:3; Jeremiah 12:6; 15:18; 40:14; 42:5; Lamentations 4:12; Hosea 5:9; 12:1; Jonah 3:5; Micah 7:5; Habakkuk 1:5. Commenting on a part of the meaning of Nma that relates to Genesis 15:6, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament notes:

[T]he concept of Nma embraces a twofold relation: recognition and acknowledgment of the relation of claim and reality, and the relation of the validity of this claim for him who says Amen to all its practical consequences. . . . This leads us to the simplest definition of the hiphil NImTaRh (“to believe”), which the LXX renders 45 times by pisteu/ein, 5 by ejmmisteu/ein, and once each by katapisteu/ein and pei/qesqai. It means “to say Amen with all the consequences for both obj. and subj.” . . . [T]he use of NImTaRh toward men gives prominence to the total basic attitude along the lines of “to trust.” . . . A further point is that the OT uses NImTaRh only for the personal relation, for behind the word which is believed is the man whom one trusts. The hiphil finds an analogous use as an expression for man’s relation to God. Here, too, it has declarative rather than causative significance. It means “to declare God NDmTaRn,” “to say Amen to God.” But this does not embrace the whole meaning . . . the mutual relation between God and man is of the very essence of faith . . . God is the true author of the relation between God and man. . . . [T]he setting and origin of the religious use of the stem Nma in the OT tradition is to be sought in the sacral covenant with [Jehovah]. . . . In the relation denoted by NImTaRh the OT saw the special religious attitude of the people of God to [Jehovah]. (pgs. 186-188, 191, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 6, Kittel)

[256]           The Hiphil + b. Nma + b is found in Genesis 15:6; Exodus 14:31; Numbers 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 28:66; 1 Samuel 27:12; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Job 15:31; 24:22; 39:12; Psalm 27:13; 78:22, 32, 37; 89:38; 106:12; 119:66; Proverbs 26:25; Jeremiah 12:6; Jonah 3:5; Micah 7:5. The definite majority of these texts refer to belief in Jehovah. In all these texts, except Psalm 78:37; 89:28; and one of the three instances of Nma in 2 Chronicles 20:20, where the verb is in the Niphal, Nma is always in the Hiphil. Warfield comments on the Hiphil of Nma:

Obviously it is a subjective causative, and expresses the acquisition or exhibition of the firmness, security, relability, faithfulness which lies in the root-meaning of the verb, in or with respect to its object. The NyImSaAmis therefore one whose state of mind is free from faintheartedness (Isaiah 7:9) and anxious haste (Isaiah 28:16), and who stays himself upon the object of his contemplation with confidence and trust. The implication seems to be, not so much that of a passive dependence as of a vigorous active commitment. He who, in the Hebrew sense, exercises faith, is secure, assured, confident (Deuteronomy 28:66; Job 24:22; Psalm 27:13), and lays hold of the object of his confidence with firm trust.

The most common construction of NyImTaRh, is with the preposition b, and in this construction its fundamental meaning seems to be most fully expressed. It is probably never safe to represent this phrase by the simple “believe”; the preposition rather introduces the person or thing in which one believes, or on which one believingly rests as on firm ground. This is true even when the object of the affection is a thing, whether divine words, commandments, or works (Psalm 106:12; 119:66; 78:32), or some earthly force or good (Job 39:12; 15:31; 24:22; Deuteronomy 28:66), It is no less true when the object is a person, human (1 Samuel 27:12; Proverbs 26:25; Jeremiah 12:6; Micah 7:5) or superhuman (Job 4:18; 15:15), or the representative of God, in whom therefore men should place their confidence (Exodus 19:9; 2 Chronicles 20:20). It is above all true, however, when the object of the affection is God Himself, and that indifferently whether or not the special exercise of faith adverted to is rooted in a specific occasion (Genesis 15:6; Exodus 14:31; Numbers 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Psalm 78:22; Jonah 3:5). The weaker conception of “believing” seems, on the other hand, to lie in the construction with the preposition l, which appears to introduce the person or thing, not on which one confidingly rests, but to the testimony of which one assentingly turns. This credence may be given by the simple to every untested word (Proverbs 14:15); it may be withheld until seeing takes the place of believing (1 Kings 10:7; 2 Chronicles 9:6); it is due to words of the Lord and of His messengers, as well as to the signs wrought by them (Psalm 106:24; Isaiah 53:1; Exodus 4:8, 9). It may also be withheld from any human speaker (Genesis 45:26; Exodus 4:1, 8; Jeremiah 40:14; 2 Chronicles 32:15), but is the right of God when He bears witness to His majesty or makes promises to His people (Isaiah 43:10; Deuteronomy 9:23). In this weakened sense of the word the proposition believed is sometimes attached to it by the conjunction y;Ik(Exodus 4:5; Job 9:16; Lamentations 4:12). In its construction with the infinitive, however, its deeper meaning comes out more strongly (Judges 11:20; Job 15:22; Psalm 27:13), and the same is true when the verb is used absolutely (Exodus 4:31; Isaiah 7:9; 28:16; Psalm 116:10; Job 29:24; Habakkuk 1:5). In these constructions faith is evidently the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. . . .

God Himself is the object to which [Old Testament saints] believingly turn, or on whom they rest in assured trust, in some eleven cases. In two of these it is to Him as a faithful witness that faith believingly turns (Deuteronomy 9:23; Isaiah 43:10). In the remainder of them it is upon His very person that faith rests in assured confidence (Genesis 15:6; Exodus 14:31; Numbers 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Psalm 78:22; Jonah 3:5). It is in these instances, in which the construction is with b, together with those in which the word is used absolutely (Exodus 4:31; Isaiah 7:9; 28:16; Psalm 116:10), to which may be added Psalm 27:13 where it is construed with the infinitive, that the conception of religious believing comes to its rights. The typical instance is, of course, the great word of Genesis 15:6, ‘And Abram believed in the LORD, and he counted it to him for righteousness’; in which all subsequent believers, Jewish and Christian alike, have found the primary example of faith. The object of Abram’s faith, as here set forth, was not the promise which appears as the occasion of its exercise; what it rested on was God Himself, and that not merely as the giver of the promise here recorded, but as His servant’s shield and exceeding great reward (xv.1). It is therefore not the assentive but the fiducial element of faith which is here emphasized; in a word, the faith which Abram gave Jehovah when he ‘put his trust in God’ (e˙pi÷steusen tw◊ˆ qew◊ˆ, LXX), was the same faith which later He sought in vain at the hands of His people (Numbers 14:11; cf. Deuteronomy 1:32; 2 Kings 17:14), and the notion of which the Psalmist explains in the parallel, ‘They believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation’ (Psalm 78:22). To believe in God, in the Old Testament sense, is thus not merely to assent to His word, but with firm and unwavering confidence to rest in security and trustfulness upon Him. . . . In the Greek of the Septuagint pisteu/ein takes its place as the regular rendering of NyImTaRh, and is very rarely set aside in favour of another word expressing trust (Proverbs 26:25 pei÷qesqai). . . . It was by being thus made the vehicle for expressing the high rfeligous faith of the Old Testament that the word was prepared for its New Testament use (“The Biblical Doctrine of Faith,” Warfield, in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works).

[257]           The Niphal. Note the lexicon:

Nma basic mng. to be firm, trustworthy, safe; MHb., Ph. n.m. Nmala; Syr. etpe. to occupy oneself constantly with; Hb. hif. > Arm. NyImyEh, Syr. haimen ˘ BArm., DISO 17, to believe, > Arb. haymana to say Amen :: Arb. }amina to be safe, }amuna to be faithful, IV to believe, Soq. to speak the truth, OSArb. }mn(t) security; Eth. Tigr. }am(a)na to believe (Leslau 11, Wb. 356a); Eg. mn to be firm. . . . nif: . . . 1. to prove to befirm, reliable, faithful Gn 4220 1K 826 Jr 1518 Ps 788 (lEa_tRa to God, of Aj…wr,) 37 8929 (Owl concerning him, of tyîr;Vb) 935 1016 1117 1C 1723f 2C 19 617 2020, to remain faithful to (MIo) Hos 121 (:: Sept.); pt. trustworthy, faithful 1S 235 2214 1K 1138 Is 121.26 82 2223.25 3316 Jr 425 Ps 198 8938 Jb 1220 Pr 2513 Neh 98 1313; (of God) Dt 79 Is 497; —to be permanent, to endure: people Is 79, dynasty 1S 2528 2S 716, tokens of mercy Is 553, God’s name 1C 1723f, water Is 3316, illness Dt 2859; hÎnDmTa‰n that which is trustworthy Hos 59, Aj…wr_NAmTa‰n be faithful Pr 1113, NDmTa‰n intended to be faithful Pr 276; —3. ;Vb NDmTa‰n entrusted with (alt. proved to be reliable) Nu 127, with Vl appointed 1S 320. . . . hif: . . . causative —1. to believe = to think (:: 3 !) with inf., that Jb 1522, with y;Ik Ps 11610 Jb 916 La 412; with Vl and inf., to be convinced that Ps 2713; —2. to regard something as trustworthy, to believe in: a thing Hab 15, a word Ex 48f 1K 107 Is 531 Ps 10624 Pr 1415 2C 96; with;Vb, to (have) trust in Nu 2012 1S 2712 Mi 75 Sir 36 [33]31; with Vl Gn 4526 Ex 41.8 Jr 4014; abs. Ex 45 Jb 2924 (dl. aøl, alt. as 4); —3. to have trust in, to believe in, God: with;VbGn 156 Ex 1431 (and in Moses) Nu 1411 2012 Dt 132 2K 1714 Jon 35 Ps 7822 2C 2020; with Vl Dt 923 Is 4310; abs. to believe Ex 431 Is 79 2816; ˘ TWNT 6:182ff; RGG 2:1588f; Eichrodt 2:190ff; Pfeiffer ZAW 71:151ff, relation between pi÷stiß and pisteu/ein Ebeling ZThK 55:70ff; —Ju 1120 (trad. to entrust, Sir 4513 hif. or hof.) rd. NEaDm◊yÅw; Is 3021 …wnyImy;Et (: Nmy hif); cj. Jb 3924 (usu. keep still) (lyIaVmVcÅy aøøl◊w) NyImy´´y (Duhm Hiob, Hölscher Hiob). (KB)

[258]           While the New Testament teaches more explicitly and apparently the growth of faith in the believer, the Old Testament suggests the possibility of strengthening and development in Nma, rather than a simply static notion, through the uses in 2 Kings 10:1, 5 & Esther 2:7 for supporting, nourishing, or bringing up as related to confirming or strengthening (see BDB; cf. tiqhno/ß in 2 Kings 10:1, 5, LXX & qrepto/ß in Esther 2:7).

[259]           Exodus 14:31; Number 14:11; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32; 9:23; 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Nehemiah 9:8; Psalm 78:8, 22, 32; Isaiah 7:9; 28:16; 43:10; Jonah 3:5. In a text such as Isaiah 7:9 belief in Jehovah and in the message of His prophet are indivisibly connected; cf. Isaiah 53:1.

[260]           Genesis 45:26; Exodus 4:1, 8, 31; 14:31; 19:9; 1 Samuel 27:12; 2 Chronicles 20:20; 32:15; Proverbs 26:25; Jeremiah 12:6; 40:14; Micah 7:5.

[261]           Exodus 4:5; Job 15:22; 29:24; 39:24; Psalm 27:13; Lamentations 4:12; Habakkuk 1:5.

[262]           Exodus 4:9, 31; 1 Kings 10:7; 2 Chronicles 9:6; Job 9:6; 39:12; Psalm 78:37; 106:12, 24; 116:10; 119:66; Proverbs 14:15; Isaiah 7:9; 53:1.

[263]           Deuteronomy 28:59; Jeremiah 15:18.

[264]           Genesis 42:20; Judges 11:20; Job 4:18; 12:20; 15:15, 31; Micah 7:5.

[265]           Numbers 12:7; Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Samuel 2:35; 22:14; Nehemiah 9:8; 13:13; Psalm 101:6; Proverbs 11:13; 25:13; 27:6; Isaiah 1:21, 26; 8:2; 49:7; Jeremiah 42:5; Hosea 11:12.

[266]           1 Samuel 2:35; 25:28; 1 Kings 11:38; Job 24:22; Psalm 19:7; 93:5; 111:7; Isaiah 22:23, 25; 33:16; 55:3; Hosea 5:9.

[267]           1 Samuel 3:20; 2 Samuel 7:16; 1 Kings 8:26; 1 Chronicles 17:23-24; 2 Chronicles 1:9; 6:17; 20:20; Psalm 89:28, 37.

[268]           Deuteronomy 28:66.

[269]           Genesis 15:6; Nehemiah 9:8. Note that Nehemiah 9:8’s~ÔKy‰nDpVl N∞DmTa‰n, with its Niphal of ‘aman with lamed following, is different from Genesis 15:6’s use of the Hiphil + beth in h¡DOwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w. Faithfulness in the heart is a result of coming to initial faith in Jehovah. Kaiser explains the relationship between faith and faithfulness or obedience in the receipt of the promises by Abraham and his seed:

The third and climactic element in the promise [of the Abrahamic covenant] was that Abraham and each of the successive sons of promise were to be the source of genuine blessing; indeed, they were to be the touchstone of blessing to all other peoples on the earth. All nations of the world would be blessed by them, for each was the mediator of life to the nations (of Abraham—12:3; 18:18; 22:17–18; of Isaac—26:3–4; and of Jacob—28:13–14).

The apostle Paul would later point to this phrase (“all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you,” Ge 12:3), and declare that it was the same “gospel” he preached (Gal 3:8). Simply put, the good news was that “in [the promised seed] all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gal 3:8). Thus the embryo of God’s good news could be reduced to the linchpin word “blessing.” The one who was blessed was now to be the conduit of blessing of universal proportions to the whole world. In contrast to the nations who sought a “name” merely for themselves, God made Abraham a great name so that he might be the means of blessing all the nations on earth.

But, it might be asked, how were the nations to receive this blessing mediated by Abraham or any of his successive sons? The method must be the same as it was for Abraham. It would be by faith: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Ge 15:6).

The literal rendering of Genesis 15:6 is simply he believed in [Jehovah] (he’emîn ba YHWH). This, of course, was more than a vague intellectual assent to a supreme deity in which he decided merely to become a theist. The object of his faith was to be found in the content of the total promise. As such, priority may be given to the oldest, most ancient, and most central part of that promise: the person or the man of promise signified by that male descendant who was to come from the seed (3:15). Indeed, when God first met Abraham, the issue of progeny was not specifically included but only inferred (12:1–3), for the first clause promised to make Abraham into a great nation. His trust, then, was in the Lord—but particularly in the Lord who had promised. . . .

Since the verb “to believe” in Genesis 15:6 is the Hebrew hiphil form (the causative stem) of the verb ’āman (cf. English “amen”), Geerhardus Vos pointed to the “causative-productive sense” of the verb and to the preposition. Both, in his judgment, showed that faith had its source and its object in the personal [Jehovah]. For Abraham, it meant he had to renounce all his human efforts to secure the promise (as witnessed by his attempting at first to legally adopt Eliezer as his son and the inheritor of his estate, Ge 15:2), and he had to depend on the same divine person who had spoken of the future to work in the present as well as the future, to accomplish what he said he would do. Thus, Abraham possessed the promises of God, as yet unrealized, when he possessed the God of the promises and his trustworthy word, even though he never got to enjoy the reality of the content of the promise—the land itself—during his lifetime. . . .

In Genesis 22:16–18 Abraham was told, “Because (kî ya’an ‘ašer) you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you . . . because (‘ēqeb ’ašer) you have obeyed me.” In Genesis 26:5 the blessing is repeated to Isaac “because (‘ēqeb ’ašer) Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” In my judgment, the conditionality was not attached to the promise, but only to the participants who would benefit from these abiding promises. If the condition of faith was not evident, then the patriarch would become a mere transmitter of the blessing without personally inheriting any of its gifts directly. Such faith must be evident also in an obedience that sprang from faith. Certainly, the promise was not initiated in either chapter 22 or 26; that had long since been settled. But each chapter did have a sensitive moment of testing or transition. Furthermore, the election of God had been with a purpose not only of blessing Abraham and the nation (18:18) but also of charging him and his household to “keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that (lema‘an) the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him” (v. 19).

The connection is undeniable. The duty of obedience (law, if you wish) was intimately tied up with promise as a desired sequel. Therefore, the transition to the coming time of Mosaic law should not be all that difficult for any who had really adequately listened to the full revelation of the promise in the patriarchal era. But in no way was the promise-plan itself dependent on anyone’s obedience; it only insured their participation in the benefits of the promise but not on its maintenance. (pgs. 59-61, The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, Walter Kaiser. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008)

[270]           Genesis 15:6; Isaiah 1:21-27. The “redeemed” (hdp) believing remnant in Zion in Isaiah 1:21-27 result in Jerusalem being the “city of righteousness, the faithful city” (h`DnDmTa‰n h™Dy√rIq q®d$R…xAh ry∞Io).

[271]           Genesis 15:7. Note that the Lord does not merely promise Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan, but indicates that the patriarch himself will inherit the land (Genesis 13:15, 17; 15:7)—something that will take place after the resurrection in the Millennial kingdom when Abraham will dwell in Canaan with true Israel. Such a resurrection, and the eternal felicity associated with it, is also involved in the fact that Jehovah is truly a God to Abraham (Genesis 17:7; 28:13; Exodus 3:6; Matthew 22:32; Mark 12:26). Abraham’s faith led him to look both for the promised kingdom and “for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10), the New Jerusalem.

[272]           As eternal salvation is an undeserved gift of grace, so neither Abraham nor any of his fallen physical descendents possessed the Land in their lifetime, or will possess the Land in the eschaton, because of their inherent worthiness—the inheritance is solely procured by grace, Deuteronomy 9:4-6; cf. Romans 10:8 & Deuteronomy 30.

[273]           Walter Kaiser notes:

When [Jehovah] appeared to Abraham, after the patriarch had arrived at Shechem, that ancient word about a “seed” (3:15) was again revived. Now, however, it was directed to Abraham (Ge 12:7). From there on, the importance of this gift of a child who would inherit the promises and blessings became one of the dominant themes in the patriarchal narrative, appearing, all told, some twenty-eight times. [Genesis 12:7; 13:15, 16 (2C); 15:13, 18; 16:10; 17:7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 19; 21:12; 22:17 (2×), 18; 24:7; 26:3, 4 (3×), 24; 28:13, 14 (2×); 32:12; 35:12; 48:3, 4.] Eve had been promised both a “seed” and a male individual—apparently from that “seed.” Now in the progress of revelation, with much greater specification added, the concept was elaborated both on the corporate (all who believed) and representative (Man of promise/“Seed”) aspects of this promised heir. It was to encompass so great a number that, in hyperbolic fashion, they would rival the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore. But this “seed” would also be another “son”—born at first to Abraham, when all hope of his ever having children was lost, and then continued in the one born to his son Isaac, and later to the one born to Isaac’s son Jacob. A line of successive representative sons of the patriarchs who were regarded as one with the whole group they represented matched the seminal idea already advocated in Genesis 3:15. Furthermore, in the concept of “seed” were the two aspects: (1) the seed as a future benefit and (2) the seed as the present beneficiaries of God’s temporal and spiritual gifts. Consequently, “seed” was always a collective singular noun; few times did it have the meaning of a plural noun (as in “descendants”). Thereby the “seed” was marked as a unit, yet with a flexibility of reference: now referring to the one person, now to the many descendants of that family. This interchange of reference with its implied “corporate solidarity” was more than a cultural phenomena or an accident of careless editing; it was an integral part of its doctrinal intention. . . . Thus, we refer to the “one” and the “many” when we refer to the “seed,” or “offspring,” but the use of the translation “descendants” limited the reference only to the whole group who believed but did not include the representative of the whole group, the coming Messiah himself. (pgs. 56-57, The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, Walter Kaiser. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008)

The recognition of both the individual and corporate aspect of the “seed” continues in the New Testament (cf. Galatians 3:16, 29).

[274]           Genesis 13:15; 17:8; 28:13.

[275]           Exodus 14:31-15:2. While the entire nation of Israel received salvation in that they were delivered from slavery in Egypt and from Pharaoh’s army, although the entire nation did not believe in an eternally saving fashion, nonetheless Exodus 14:31-15:2 does connect belief and salvation, and both the belief and the salvation received and sung about pass beyond the merely physical and temporal for the Israel of God (Romans 9:6) to encompass all that is involved, both temporally and eternally, in the affirmation “Jehovah . . . is become my salvation: he is my God.”

[276]           Isaiah 28:16; 8:14-15; 7:14; 9:6; Romans 9:33; 10:11.

[277]           Numbers 14:11-35; 20:12; Deuteronomy 1:32-40; 9:23-24. Numbers 14:11-35 speaks, at least in general, of those who do not believe in Jehovah at all, while Numbers 20:12 speaks of a lack of faith in the Lord in a particular situation by those who are true sons of Israel, namely, Moses and Aaron. The language employed concerning those who do not believe in the Lord at all in Numbers 14:11-35 is much harsher than that in Numbers 20:12, although entrance into the Promised Land is taken from both groups. It is noteworthy that Deuteronomy 1:32-40 indicates that the Lord was angry with Moses because of the larger unbelieving multitude that he led and represented (as, typologically, there is no problem with the Law itself, but because of sin, man is unable to receive eternal life through the Law), those who were rebellious all the time that Moses knew them and consequently did not believe nor hearken to the Lord (Deuteronomy 9:23-24).

[278]           2 Kings 17:7-23; Deuteronomy 27-28. Contrast the unbelief of 2 Kings 17:14 with Hezekiah’s “trust” in 18:5 and the temporal prosperity that was consequent upon it.

[279]           Exodus 30:33, 38; 31:14; Leviticus 7:20, 21, 25, 27; 17:4, 9; 18:29; 19:8; 20:17, 18; 23:39; Numbers 9:13; 15:30; Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Psalm 125:5; Isaiah 53:8; Jeremiah 4:4; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 14:2.

[280]        lRsR;k, Psalm 78:7; cf. Job 8:14; 31:24; Proverbs 3:26.

[281]           Psalm 78; cf. v. 7, 22, 32, 37.

[282]           Isaiah 53:1; 7:9-14; 8:8; 9:6; Hebrews 11:14.

[283]           Isaiah 28:16; 8:14; Genesis 49:24; Psalm 118:22; Romans 9:33; 10:11; 1 Peter 2:4-8).

[284]           Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

[285]           An affirmation that all true believers receive salvation in the Old Testament, as in the New, does not eliminate the possibility that one could, in Old Testament times, possess a type of spurious “faith” that fell short of the kind of true faith associated with real conversion, just as such spurious “faith” is mentioned in the New Testament (John 2:23-25) while salvation is still set forth as by means of faith alone (John 3:1-21). The Old Testament indicates that one could assent, for example, to the fact that the Word from the Lord was true without having anything more than the “faith” of a hypocrite (Psalm 106:12ff.), while at the same time repeatedly stressing the salvation of all believers (Genesis 15:6).

[286]           Compare Nehemiah 9:8 also.

[287]           A goodly number of texts of this sort are found in the Old Testament that do not specifically contain the word believe; cf. Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6-10; Isaiah 55:1-3; Jeremiah 3:22; 4:4; Hosea 14:2, etc. Such an employment of other terms for saving faith and conversion appears in the New Testament also, of course (Matthew 7:13; John 6:37, 57; 10:9; Revelation 22:17, etc.).

[288] :h`RyVjˆy wñøtÎn…wmTaR;b qyäî;dAx◊w wóø;b wäøvVpÅn hñ∂rVvÎy_aøl h$DlVÚpUo h∞E…nIh

e˙a»n uJpostei÷lhtai oujk eujdokei√ hJ yuch/ mou e˙n aujtw◊ˆ oJ de« di÷kaioß e˙k pi÷stew¿ß mou zh/setai(LXX; note that 2:4a is not at all literally translated)

Ecce qui incredulus est, non erit recta anima ejus in semetipso; justus autem in fide sua vivet. “Behold, he that is unbelieving, his soul shall not be right in himself: but the just shall live in his faith.” (Vulgate)

:N…wmy◊yåqtˆy NOwhVfv…wq lAo aÎyåqyîdAx◊w NyElIa lDk tyEl NyîrVmDa NOwhVbIlVb aÎyAoyIvår aDh(Targum Jonathan)

[289]           Habakkuk 2:2. The word Aj…wl, employed in Habbakuk 2:2 of the tables upon which the message that the just shall live by faith was to be engraved, was also employed of the tables of the ten commandments (Exodus 24:12).

[290]           Habakkuk 1:5; Acts 13:39-41.

[291]           Habakkuk 1:6ff.

[292]           In Habakkuk 2:4b, the accentuation of :h`RyVjˆy wñøtÎn…wmTaR;b qyäî;dAx◊w indicates that the affirmation of Habakkuk is: “the just, by his faith shall live” or “the righteous shall live-by-his-faith,” rather than “the just by his faith, shall live” or “the righteous-by-his-faith shall live.” That is, the Hebrew accents support the translation of the Authorized Version: “the just shall live by his faith.”

[293]           hÎn…wmTa.

[294]        Strong evidence that hÎn…wmTa in Habakkuk 2:4 is properly rendered faith, and that faithfulness is a result of faith, is provided in the comment on Habakkuk 2:4 in The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah, O. P. Robertson, NICOT; note also that hÎn…wmTa is translated in the LXX by pistis with some frequency. “The context . . . justifies pi÷stiß, even in the sense ‘trust’ . . . and it was so translated by Symmachus, Aquila, and Theodotion, and in the other Greek versions” (Lightfoot, Galatians, on 3:11). Furthermore, the meaning “‘belief, trust’ . . . [for] hÎn…wmTa . . . seems decidedly to have [been] adopted . . . in the rabbinical Hebrew” (Lightfoot, Commentary on Galatians, sec. “The Words Denoting ‘Faith’”). Warfield comments:

The notions of “faith” and “faithfulness” lie close to one another, and are not uncommonly expressed by a single term (so pi÷stiß, fides, faith). . . . “[F]aith,” in its active sense . . . occurs in the Authorized Version of the Old Testament [in] Deuteronomy 32:20 where it represents the Hebrew NUmEa, and Habakkuk 2:4 where it stands for the Hebrew hÎn…wmTa; and it . . . [is] really demanded in . . . Habakkuk 2:4. The very point of this passage . . . is the sharp contrast which is drawn between arrogant self-sufficiency and faithful dependence on God. The purpose of the verse is to give a reply to the prophet’s inquiry as to God’s righteous dealings with the Chaldæans. Since it is by faith that the righteous man lives, the arrogant Chaldæan, whose soul is puffed up and not straight within him, cannot but be destined to destruction. The whole drift of the broader context bears out this meaning; for throughout this prophecy the Chaldæan is ever exhibited as the type of insolent self-assertion (Habakkuk 1:7, 11, 16), in contrast with which the righteous appear, certainly not as men of integrity and steadfast faithfulness, but as men who look in faith to God and trustingly depend upon His arm. The obvious reminiscence of Genesis 15:6 throws its weight into the same scale, to which may be added the consent of the Jewish expositors of the passage. Here we have, therefore, thrown into a clear light the contrasting characteristics of the wicked, typified by the Chaldæan, and of the righteous: of the one the fundamental trait is self-sufficiency; of the other, faith. This faith, which forms the distinctive feature of the righteous man, and by which he obtains life, is obviously no mere assent. It is a profound and abiding disposition, an ingrained attitude of mind and heart towards God which affects and gives character to all the activities. Here . . . the term . . . in the Old Testament . . . rises to the full height of its most pregnant meaning. (“The Biblical Doctrine of Faith,” Warfield, in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works).

In both the Old and New Testament, “[t]he trusting man (NyImSaAm = pisteu/wn) is also the faithful man (NDmTa‰n = pisto/ß” (pg. 198, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 6, Kittel).

[295]           “hÎn…wmTa . . . from ’âman, to be firm, to last[,] [denotes] firmness (Ex. 17:12); then, as an attribute of God, trustworthiness, unchangeable fidelity in the fulfilment of His promises (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 33:4; 89:34); and, as a personal attribute of man, fidelity in word and deed (Jer. 7:28; 9:2; Ps. 37:3); and, in his relation to God, firm attachment to God, an undisturbed confidence in the divine promises of grace, firma fiducia and fides, so that in ’ĕmūnâh the primary meanings of ne’ĕmân and he’ĕmīn are combined. This is also apparent from the fact that Abraham is called ne’ĕmân in Neh. 9:8, with reference to the fact that it is affirmed of him in Gen. 15:6 that h¡DOwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w, “he trusted, or believed, the Lord;” and still more indisputably from the passage before us, since it is impossible to mistake the reference in h`RyVjˆy wñøtÎn…wmTaR;b qyäî;dAx◊w to Gen. 15:6, “he believed (he’ĕmīn) in Jehovah, and He reckoned it to him litsedâqâh.” It is also indisputably evident from the context that our passage treats of the relation between man and God, since the words themselves speak of a waiting (chikkâh) for the fulfilment of a promising oracle, which is to be preceded by a period of severe suffering. ‘What is more natural than that life or deliverance from destruction should be promised to that faith which adheres faithfully to God, holds fast by the word of promise, and confidently waits for its fulfilment in the midst of tribulation? It is not the sincerity, trustworthiness, or integrity of the righteous man, regarded as being virtues in themselves, which are in danger of being shaken and giving way in such times of tribulation, but, as we may see in the case of the prophet himself, his faith. To this, therefore, there is appended the great promise expressed in the one word h`RyVjˆy’ (Delitzsch). And in addition to this, ’ĕmūnâh is opposed to the pride of the Chaldaean, to his exaltation of himself above God; and for that very reason it cannot denote integrity in itself, but simply some quality which has for its leading feature humble submission to God, that is to say, faith, or firm reliance upon God. The Jewish expositors, therefore, have unanimously retained this meaning here, and the LXX have rendered the word quite correctly pi÷stiß. . . . The deep meaning of these words has been first fully brought out by the Apostle Paul (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11: see also Heb. 10:38), who . . . makes the declaration oJ di÷kaioß e˙k pi÷stewß zh/setai the basis of the New Testament doctrine of justification by faith” (Comment on Habakkuk 2:4, Commentary, Keil & Delitzsch). That is, “in Habakkuk 2:4, faith was simply an unwavering trust in God’s word. In contrast to the overbearing disposition of the wicked, the believer, like Abraham in Genesis 15:6 and Isaiah in Isaiah 28:16; 30:15, put an immovable confidence in the God who had promised his salvation and the coming Man of promise. It was a steadfast, undivided surrender to [Jehovah], a childlike, humble and sincere trust in the credibility of the divine message of salvation” (pg. 196, The Promise-Plan of God, Kaiser).

[296]           Exodus 17:12; Isaiah 33:6.

[297]           Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 33:4; 36:6; 40:10; 88:11; 89:1, 2, 5, 8, 24, 33, 49; 92:2; 96:13; 98:3; 100:5; 119:75, 90; 143:1; Isaiah 25:1; Lamentations 3:23; Hosea 2:20.

[298]           1 Samuel 26:23; 2 Kings 12:15; 22:7; 2 Chronicles 19:9; 31:12; 34:12; Proverbs 12:22; 28:20; Isaiah 11:5 (the faithfulness of the incarnate Messiah); 59:4; Jeremiah 5:1, 3; 7:28; 9:3; Habakkuk 2:4. Note also 1 Chronicles 9:22, 26, 31; 2 Chronicles 31:15, 18 where those put in office were to be trustworthy or faithful and act in fidelity (cf. KJV margin).

[299]           Psalm 37:3; 119:30, 86, 138; Proverbs 12:17.

[300]           See BDB for the definitions.

[301]           NRmQOa, Isaiah 25:1.

[302]           NEmDa, Numbers 5:22; Deuteronomy 27:15–26; 1 Kings 1:36; 1 Chronicles 16:36; Nehemiah 5:13; 8:6; Psalm 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48; Isaiah 65:16; Jeremiah 11:5; 28:6. Also hÎnVmDa, Genesis 20:12; Joshua 7:20. Also MÎnVmUa, Genesis 18:13; Numbers 22:37; 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 6:18; Psalm 58:1. Also MÎnVmDa, Ruth 3:12; 2 Kings 19:17; Job 9:2; 12:2; 19:4–5; 34:12; 36:4; Isaiah 37:18.

[303]           NUmEa, Deuteronomy 32:20 (unconverted Israelites as “children in whom is no faith”); Proverbs 13:17; 14:5; 20:6; Isaiah 26:2.

[304]           hÎnDmSa, Nehemiah 9:38; 11:23.

[305]           hÎnDmSa, Song 4:8; 2 Kings 5:12; the likely significance of the name of the river and of the region from which it flows.

[306]           tRmTa, used of God’s faithful truth (Genesis 24:27; 32:10; Exodus 34:6; 2 Chronicles 15:3; Nehemiah 9:33; Psalm 25:5, 10; 26:3; 30:9; 31:5; 40:10, 11; 43:3; 54:5; 57:3, 10; 61:7; 69:13; 71:22; 85:10–11; 86:11, 15; 89:14; 91:4; 108:4; 111:7–8; 115:1; 117:2; 119:43, 142, 151, 160; 132:11; 138:2; 146:6; Isaiah 38:18, 19; 61:8; Jeremiah 4:2; 10:10; 42:5; Daniel 9:13; Zechariah 8:8), of true, faithful, and right things (Genesis 24:48; Deuteronomy 13:14; 17:4; 22:20; Joshua 2:12; 2 Samuel 7:28; 15:20; 1 Kings 10:6; 22:16; 2 Kings 20:19; 2 Chronicles 9:5; 18:15; 31:20; 32:1; Nehemiah 9:13; Esther 9:30; Psalm 19:9; 45:4; 51:6; Proverbs 3:3; 8:7; 11:18; 14:22; 16:6; 20:28; 22:21; 23:23; Ecclesiastes 12:10; Isaiah 39:8; 42:3, 9; 59:14, 15; Jeremiah 14:13; 26:15; Daniel 8:12, 26; 10:1, 21; 11:2; Hosea 4:1; Zechariah 7:9; 8:19; Malachi 2:6), acts (Genesis 24:49; 47:29; Joshua 2:14; 24:14; Judges 9:15, 16, 19; 1 Samuel 12:24; 2 Samuel 2:6; 1 Kings 2:4; 3:6; 17:24; 20:3; Psalm 15:2; 145:18; Proverbs 14:25; 29:14; Isaiah 10:20; 16:5; 38:3; Isaiah 48:1; Jeremiah 9:5; 23:28; 28:9; 32:41; 33:6; Ezekiel 18:8, 9; Micah 7:20; Zechariah 8:16), and individuals or groups of individuals (Genesis 42:16; Exodus 18:21; Nehemiah 7:2; Proverbs 12:19; Jeremiah 2:21; Zechariah 8:3).

[307]           jfb. The complete list of references in the Old Testament is: Deuteronomy 28:52; Judges 9:26; 18:7, 10, 27; 20:36; 2 Kings 18:5, 19–22, 24, 30; 19:10; 1 Chronicles 5:20; 2 Chronicles 32:10; Job 6:20; 11:18; 39:11; 40:23; Psalm 4:5; 9:10; 13:5; 21:7; 22:4–5, 9; 25:2; 26:1; 27:3; 28:7; 31:6, 14; 32:10; 33:21; 37:3, 5; 40:3; 41:9; 44:6; 49:6; 52:7–8; 55:23; 56:3–4, 11; 62:8, 10; 78:22; 84:12; 86:2; 91:2; 112:7; 115:8–11; 118:8–9; 119:42; 125:1; 135:18; 143:8; 146:3; Proverbs 3:5; 11:15, 28; 14:16; 16:20; 28:1, 25–26; 29:25; 31:11; Isaiah 12:2; 26:3–4; 30:12; 31:1; 32:9–11; 36:4–7, 9, 15; 37:10; 42:17; 47:10; 50:10; 59:4; Jeremiah 5:17; 7:4, 8, 14; 9:4; 12:5; 13:25; 17:5, 7; 28:15; 29:31; 39:18; 46:25; 48:7; 49:4, 11; Ezekiel 16:15; 33:13; Hosea 10:13; Amos 6:1; Micah 7:5; Habakkuk 2:18; Zephaniah 3:2. Note that in Psalm 78:22 jfb and NImTaRhare in synonymous parallelism; compare also 2 Kings 17:14; 18:5.

[308]           2 Kings 18:5, 22, 30; 19:10; 2 Chronicles 32:10; Isaiah 36:7, 15; 37:10.

[309]           Psalm 62:8, 10.

[310]           1 Chronicles 5:20; Jeremiah 39:18.

[311]           Isaiah 12:2; 26:3-4; 50:10.

[312]           Isaiah 30:12; 47:10.

[313]           Psalm 56:3, 4, 11; 118:8-9; Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 17:5-7.

[314]           Psalm 9:10; cf. 4:5.

[315]           Psalm 22:4-5; cf. 25:2; 26:1; 28:7; 31:6, 14; 33:21; 40:3.

[316]           dRsRj.

[317]           Psalm 78:22, 8, 10, 32, 37.

[318]           Psalm 112:7; 143:8.

[319]           Proverbs 16:20; 28:25, 26.

[320]           That is, the rest of the jfb word group.

[321]           hDjVfI;b in Isaiah 30:15; NwøjDÚfI;b in Isaiah 36:4; 2 Kings 18:19; also Ecclesiastes 9:4.

[322]           Jeremiah 17:7; 2:37; 48:17; Ezekiel 29:16. jDfVbIm, “trust, reliance” (KB), “confidence . . . 1. the act of confiding Pr 21:22, 22:19, 25:19. 2. the object of confidence Jb 8:14, 18:14, 31:24, Psalm 40:5, 65:6, 71:5, Je 2:37, 17:7, 48:13, Ez 29:16. 3. the state of confidence, security Pr 14:26, Is 32:18” (BDB).

[323]           Job 8:14; 18:14; 31:24.

[324]           Proverbs 25:19; cf. 21:22.

[325]           Proverbs 22:19; 14:26; contra 25:19; 21:22.

[326]           hsj; Cf. in English, Psalm 57:1: “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth [Qal perfect hsj] in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge [Qal imperfect hsj], until these calamities be overpast.” The complete list of references for the verb is: Deuteronomy 32:37; Judges 9:15; Ruth 2:12; 2 Samuel 22:3, 31; Psalm 2:12; 5:11; 7:1; 11:1; 16:1; 17:7; 18:2, 30; 25:20; 31:1, 19; 34:8, 22; 36:7; 37:40; 57:1; 61:4; 64:10; 71:1; 91:4; 118:8–9; 141:8; 144:2; Proverbs 14:32; 30:5; Isaiah 14:32; 30:2; 57:13; Nahum 1:7; Zephaniah 3:12.

[327]           2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 144:2.

[328]           2 Samuel 22:31; cf. Isaiah 14:32; Psalm 61:4; 94:4.

[329]           Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse in the Bible.

[330]           Psalm 7:1; 11:1; 16:1; 17:7; 18:2, 30.

[331]           Psalm 25:20; 31:1; 34:22; 36:7; 71:1; 141:8.

[332]           qvn, also translated “be ruled” in Genesis 41:40.

[333]           Note the use of the Aramaic form rA;b, elsewhere found in the Hebrew Old Testament only in Proverbs 31:2; the Son of God is set forth in Psalm 2:12 as the Object of faith for the nations.

[334]           Warfield notes:

[A]long with an ever more richly expressed corporate hope, there is found also [in the Old Testament] an ever more richly expressed individual trust, which finds natural utterance through an ample body of synonyms bringing out severally the various sides of that perfect commitment to God that constitutes the essence of faith. Thus we read much of trusting in, on, to God, or in His word, His name, His mercy, His salvation (jAf;Db), of seeking and finding refuge in God or in the shadow of His wings (hDsDj), of committing ourselves to God (lAlÎ…g), setting confidence (lRsR;k) in Him, looking to Him (JKAmVsˆ…n) relying upon Him (NAoVvˆ…n), staying upon Him (JKAmVsˆ…n), setting or fixing the heart upon Him (bEl NyIkEj), binding our love on Him (qAvDj), cleaving to Him (qAb∂;d). So, on the hopeful side of faith, we read much of hoping in God (hD…wIq), waiting on God (lRjˆy), of longing for Him (hD;kIj), patiently waiting for Him (lElwøjVtIh), and the like.

        By the aid of such expressions, it becomes possible to form a somewhat clear notion of the attitude towards Him which was required by Jehovah of His believing people, and which is summed up in the term “faith.” It is a reverential (Exodus 14:31; Numbers 14:11, 20:12) and loving faith, which rests on the strong basis of firm and unshaken conviction of the might and grace of the covenant God and of the trustworthiness of all His words, and exhibits itself in confident trust in Jehovah and unwavering expectation of the fulfilment of, no doubt, all His promises, but more especially of His promise of salvation, and in consequent faithful and exclusive adherence to Him. In one word, it consists in an utter commitment of oneself to Jehovah, with confident trust in Him as guide and saviour, and assured expectation of His promised salvation. It therefore stands in contrast, on the one hand, with trust in self or other human help, and on the other with doubt and unbelief, despondency and unfaithfulness. From Jehovah alone is salvation to be looked for, and it comes from His free grace alone (Deuteronomy 7:7, 8:18; 9:5; Amos 3:2; Hosea 13:5; Ezekiel 20:6; Jeremiah 39:18; Malachi 1:2), and to those only who look solely to Him for it (Isaiah 31:1; 57:13; 28:16; 30:15; Jeremiah 17:5; 39:18; Psalm 118:8; 146:3; 20:7; 1 Samuel 17:45; Job 31:24; Psalm 52:9). The reference of faith is accordingly in the Old Testament always distinctly soteriological; its end the Messianic salvation; and its essence a trusting, or rather an entrusting of oneself to the God of salvation, with full assurance of the fulfilment of His gracious purposes and the ultimate realization of His promise of salvation for the people and the individual. Such an attitude towards the God of salvation is identical with the faith of the New Testament, and is not essentially changed by the fuller revelation of God the Redeemer in the person of the promised Messiah. (pgs. 488-490, “The Biblical Doctrine of Faith,” Warfield, in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works)

[335]           bvj. The complete list of references in the Old Testament is: Genesis 15:6; 31:15; 38:15; 50:20; Exodus 31:4; 35:32; Leviticus 7:18; 17:4; 25:27, 31, 50, 52; 27:18, 23; Numbers 18:27, 30; 23:9; Deuteronomy 2:11, 20; Joshua 13:3; Esther 8:3; 9:24–25; 1 Samuel 1:13; 18:25; 2 Samuel 4:2; 14:13–14; 19:19; 1 Kings 10:21; 2 Kings 12:15; 22:7; 2 Chronicles 2:14; 9:20; Nehemiah 6:2, 6; 13:13; Job 6:26; 13:24; 18:3; 19:11, 15; 33:10; 35:2; 41:27, 29, 32; Psalm 10:2; 21:11; 32:2; 35:4, 20; 36:4; 40:17; 41:7; 44:22; 52:2; 73:16; 77:5; 88:4; 106:31; 119:59; 140:2, 4; 144:3; Proverbs 16:9, 30; 17:28; 24:8; 27:14; Isaiah 2:22; 5:28; 10:7; 13:17; 29:16–17; 32:15; 33:8; 40:15, 17; 53:3–4; Jeremiah 11:19; 18:8, 11, 18; 23:27; 26:3; 29:11; 36:3; 48:2; 49:20, 30; 50:45; Lamentations 2:8; 4:2; Ezekiel 11:2; 38:10; Daniel 11:24–25; Hosea 7:15; 8:12; Amos 6:5; Jonah 1:4; Micah 2:1, 3; Nahum 1:9, 11; Zechariah 7:10; 8:17; Malachi 3:16.

[336]           Genesis 31:15; Leviticus 7:18; 17:4; Numbers 18:27, 30; Numbers 23:9; 2 Samuel 19:19; 2 Kings 12:15; 22:7; Job 13:24; 18:3; 19:11, 15; 33:10; Psalm 32:2; 106:31; Proverbs 17:28; Isaiah 29:16-17; 32:15; 40:15, 17; Lamentations 4:2.

[337]           Genesis 38:15; Leviticus 25:27; Deuteronomy 2:11, 20; 1 Samuel 1:13; 18:25; 1 Kings 10:21; 2 Chronicles 9:20; Nehemiah 13:13; Job 13:24; 18:3; 19:11, 15; 33:10; 41:27, 29; Psalm 77:5; 88:4; Proverbs 17:28; Isaiah 13:17; 53:4; Jeremiah 36:3; Hosea 8:12; Zechariah 7:10; 8:17;

[338]           The syntax of Psalm 106:31 is very similar to that of Genesis 15:6 in its account of reckoning; compare :há∂q∂dVx wäø;l Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw h¡DOwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w with :M`Dlwøo_dAo r#OdÎwŒ rõOdVl hó∂q∂dVxIl wølœ bRv∞DjE;tÅw. Concerning Psalm 106:31, John Gill notes:

And that was counted unto him for righteousness, &c. Not for his justifying righteousness before God; for all the works of righteousness done by the best of men cannot justify them before him, much less a single action: but his executing judgment in the manner he did, or slaying the above two persons, was esteemed a righteous action by the Lord himself; who upon it caused the plague to cease, and likewise gave to Phinehas the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, and to his posterity; whereby the action had eternal honour put upon it, and was sufficiently secured from the calumny of men; who might condemn it as a rash action done by a private person, assuming the office of a public magistrate; and as being a cruel one, not giving the criminals time for repentance. But all this is set aside by the testimony of God himself, approving of it; and so it continues to be esteemed, as it is said it should, unto all generations for evermore: whenever it is spoken of, it is spoken of with commendation, as a righteous action, as expressive of true zeal for the Lord of hosts.

Likewise, Keil & Delitzsch note:

This act of zeal for [Jehovah], which compensated for Israel’s unfaithfulness, was accounted unto [Phinehas] for righteousness, by his being rewarded for it with the priesthood unto everlasting ages, Num. 25:10–13. This accounting of a work for righteousness is only apparently contradictory to Gen. 15:5f.: it was indeed an act which sprang from a constancy in faith [cf. Psalm 106:24], and one which obtained for him the acceptation of a righteous man for the sake of this upon which it was based, by proving him to be such.

Concerning Psalm 106:31 “we should compare for the expression Genesis 15:6, the only passage where it occurs, and for the subject, Deuteronomy 6:25; 24:13 . . . Psalm 24:5. The language does not refer to the first justification, but to the second, to the good works of one already in a state of grace, by which he obtains from God, who recompenses every one according to his works, a reward of grace, as Phinehas obtained on the present occasion the priesthood for his family, comp. Numbers 25:13” (Comment on Psalm 106:31, Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 3., E. W. Hengstenberg). That is, Phinehas’ act could only be accounted as righteous because Phinehas’ person had already been accounted righteous through Jehovah’s gratuitous justification; Phinehas had Christ as his Mediator, as one who sanctified the iniquity that otherwise would corrupt even the holiest actions of believers and prevent them from being acceptable in the sight of Jehovah (Exodus 28:38).

[339]   …wb$DvVj‰n ‹MyˆnDmTa‰n. Note the use of Nmaand bvj.

[340]           cf. Leviticus 7:18; 17:4; 25:31; Numbers 18:27, 30; Joshua 13:3; 2 Samuel 4:2; 2 Samuel 19:19; Psalm 32:2;

[341]           Psalm 32:2; Romans 4:1-8.

[342]           Psalm 34:8; 84:12.

[343]           ∆Elogi÷sqh twˆ◊ ∆Abraa»m hJ pi÷stiß ei˙ß dikaiosu/nhn.

[344]           h∂q∂dVx. The complete list of references is: Genesis 15:6; 18:19; 30:33; Deuteronomy 6:25; 9:4–6; 24:13; 33:21; Judges 5:11; 1 Samuel 12:7; 26:23; 2 Samuel 8:15; 19:28; 22:21, 25; 1 Kings 3:6; 8:32; 10:9; 1 Chronicles 18:14; 2 Chronicles 6:23; 9:8; Nehemiah 2:20; Job 27:6; 33:26; 35:8; 37:23; Psalm 5:8; 11:7; 22:31; 24:5; 31:1; 33:5; 36:6, 10; 40:10; 51:14; 69:27; 71:2, 15–16, 19, 24; 72:1, 3; 88:12; 89:16; 98:2; 99:4; 103:6, 17; 106:3, 31; 111:3; 112:3, 9; 119:40, 142; 143:1, 11; 145:7; Proverbs 8:18, 20; 10:2; 11:4–6, 18–19; 12:28; 13:6; 14:34; 15:9; 16:8, 12, 31; 21:3, 21; Isaiah 1:27; 5:7, 16, 23; 9:7; 10:22; 28:17; 32:16–17; 33:5, 15; 45:8, 23–24; 46:12–13; 48:1, 18; 51:6, 8; 54:14, 17; 56:1; 57:12; 58:2; 59:9, 14, 16–17; 60:17; 61:10–11; 63:1; 64:6; Jeremiah 4:2; 9:24; 22:3, 15; 23:5; 33:15; 51:10; Ezekiel 3:20; 14:14, 20; 18:5, 19–22, 24, 26–27; 33:12–14, 16, 18–19; 45:9; Daniel 9:7, 16, 18; Hosea 10:12; Joel 2:23; Amos 5:7, 24; 6:12; Micah 6:5; 7:9; Zechariah 8:8; Malachi 3:3; 4:2. q®dRx appears in: Leviticus 19:15, 36; Deuteronomy 1:16; 16:18, 20; 25:15; 33:19; Job 6:29; 8:3, 6; 29:14; 31:6; 35:2; 36:3; Psalm 4:1, 5; 7:8, 17; 9:4, 8; 15:2; 17:1, 15; 18:20, 24; 23:3; 35:24, 27–28; 37:6; 40:9; 45:4, 7; 48:10; 50:6; 51:19; 52:3; 58:1; 65:5; 72:2; 85:10–11, 13; 89:14; 94:15; 96:13; 97:2, 6; 98:9; 118:19; 119:7, 62, 75, 106, 121, 123, 138, 142, 144, 160, 164, 172; 132:9; Proverbs 1:3; 2:9; 8:8, 15; 12:17; 16:13; 25:5; 31:9; Ecclesiastes 3:16; 5:8; 7:15; Isaiah 1:21, 26; 11:4–5; 16:5; 26:9–10; 32:1; 41:2, 10; 42:6, 21; 45:8, 13, 19; 51:1, 5, 7; 58:2, 8; 59:4; 61:3; 62:1–2; 64:5; Jeremiah 11:20; 22:13; 23:6; 31:23; 33:16; 50:7; Ezekiel 3:20; 45:10; Daniel 9:24; Hosea 2:19; 10:12; Zephaniah 2:3. qyî;dAx appears in: Genesis 6:9; 7:1; 18:23–26, 28; 20:4; Exodus 9:27; 23:7–8; Deuteronomy 4:8; 16:19; 25:1; 32:4; 1 Samuel 24:17; 2 Samuel 4:11; 23:3; 1 Kings 2:32; 8:32; 2 Kings 10:9; 2 Chronicles 6:23; 12:6; Ezra 9:15; Neh 9:8, 33; Job 12:4; 17:9; 22:19; 27:17; 32:1; 34:17; 36:7; Psalm 1:5–6; 5:12; 7:9, 11; 11:3, 5, 7; 14:5; 31:18; 32:11–33:1; 34:15, 19, 21; 37:12, 16–17, 21, 25, 29–30, 32, 39; 52:6; 55:22; 58:10–11; 64:10; 68:3; 69:28; 72:7; 75:10; 92:12; 94:21; 97:11–12; 112:4, 6; 116:5; 118:15, 20; 119:137; 125:3; 129:4; 140:13; 141:5; 142:7; 145:17; 146:8; Proverbs 2:20; 3:33; 4:18; 9:9; 10:3, 6–7, 11, 16, 20–21, 24–25, 28, 30–32; 11:8–10, 21, 23, 28, 30–31; 12:3, 5, 7, 10, 12–13, 21, 26; 13:5, 9, 21–22, 25; 14:19, 32; 15:6, 28–29; 17:15, 26; 18:5, 10, 17; 20:7; 21:12, 15, 18, 26; 23:24; 24:15–16, 24; 25:26; 28:1, 12, 28; 29:2, 6–7, 16, 27; Ecclesiastes 3:17; 7:15–16, 20; 8:14; 9:1–2; Isaiah 3:10; 5:23; 24:16; 26:2, 7; 29:21; 41:26; 45:21; 49:24; 53:11; 57:1; 60:21; Jeremiah 12:1; 20:12; 23:5; Lamentations 1:18; 4:13; Ezekiel 3:20–21; 13:22; 18:5, 9, 20, 24, 26; 21:3–4; 23:45; 33:12–13, 18; Daniel 9:14; Hosea 14:9; Amos 2:6; 5:12; Habbakuk 1:4, 13; 2:4; Zephaniah 3:5; Zechariah 9:9; Malachi 3:18. The verb qådDx appears in: Genesis 38:26; 44:16; Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 25:1; 2 Samuel 15:4; 1 Kings 8:32; 2 Chronicles 6:23; Job 4:17; 9:2, 15, 20; 10:15; 11:2; 13:18; 15:14; 22:3; 25:4; 27:5; 32:2; 33:12, 32; 34:5; 35:7; 40:8; Psalm 19:9; 51:4; 82:3; 143:2; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23; 43:9, 26; 45:25; 50:8; 53:11; Jeremiah 3:11; Ezekiel 16:51–52; Daniel 8:14; 12:3.

[345]        Isaiah 54:17: :h`DOwh◊y_MUa◊n y™I;tIaEm M¢Dt∂q√dIx◊w hOªDwh◊y y°édVbAo ·tAlSjÅn taÓøz

[346] yˆn¡DfDo◊y hä∂q∂dVx ly¶IoVm oAvY‰y_yéd◊gI;b ‹yˆn‹AvyI;bVlIh y§I;k y$Ahøla`E;b ‹yIvVpÅn l§EgD;t hGÎOwhy`A;b cy∞IcDa cw¬øc

[347]           …wnáéq√dIx —h¶DOwh◊y.

[348]           Commenting on Genesis 15:6, Calvin notes:

And truly faith does not justify us for any other reason, than that it reconciles us unto God; and that it does so, not by its own merit; but because we receive the grace offered to us in the promises, and have no doubt of eternal life, being fully persuaded that we are loved by God as sons. Therefore, Paul reasons from contraries, that he to whom faith is imputed for righteousness, has not been justified by works (Romans 4:4). For whosoever obtains righteousness by works, his merits come into the account before God. But we apprehend righteousness by faith, when God freely reconciles us to himself. Whence it follows, that the merit of works ceases when righteousness is sought by faith; for it is necessary that this righteousness should be freely given by God, and offered in his word, in order that any one may possess it by faith. To render this more intelligible, when Moses says that faith was imputed to Abram for righteousness, he does not mean that faith was that first cause of righteousness which is called the efficient, but only the formal cause; as if he had said, that Abram was therefore justified, because, relying on the paternal loving-kindness of God, he trusted to His mere goodness, and not to himself, nor to his own merits. For it is especially to be observed, that faith borrows a righteousness elsewhere, of which we, in ourselves, are destitute; otherwise it would be in vain for Paul to set faith in opposition to works, when speaking of the mode of obtaining righteousness. Besides, the mutual relation between the free promise and faith, leaves no doubt upon the subject. (Commentary on Genesis 15:6)

Genesis 15:6’s statement há∂q∂dVx wäø;l Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw could be translated, “and He reckoned it to him, [namely], righteousness.” The “it” (Dh¶) is an anticipatory suffix (cf. GKC 131m), indicating that what was reckoned was “righteousness” (há∂q∂dVx)—substituting the feminine noun há∂q∂dVx for the feminine verbal suffix to which it refers, the sentence would be translated, “and He reckoned righteousness to him.” The specific noun righteousness, not faith itself or the previous clause h¡D`OwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w, is the referent of the “it,” as in Ezekiel 3:21 the verbal suffix wø in qy#î;dAx wâø;t√rAh◊zIh“if thou warnest him, the righteous” anticipates the noun qyî;dAx, or in Ecclesiastes 2:21 the wø anticipates w$øqVlRj in w$øqVlRj …w…n∞RnV;tˆy, “he shall give it, his portion.”

[349]           Isaiah 53:11; cf. 52:13-53:12.

[350]           This fact is evidenced in the context of vast numbers of passages that speak of the righteous. Affirmations equivalent to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 or Galatians 5:19-21 fill the Old Testament.

[351]           Genesis 6:9; 7:1; Habakkuk 2:4, etc.

[352]           Life, both in the land during this age and in the eschaton, is also promised to those who are the just by perfect inherent personal righteousness, Leviticus 18:5; Nehemiah 9:29; Ezekiel 20:11, 21; however, only the sinless and virgin-born Servant of the Lord has ever fulfilled the Law by His perfect obedience and so merited life in this manner, while His perfect obedience is imputed to the believing sinner freely through Immanuel’s substitutionary death (Isaiah 7:14; 53:12; 55:1-3).

[353]           hyj. Genesis 3:22; 5:3, 5–7, 9–10, 12–13, 15–16, 18–19, 21, 25–26, 28, 30; 6:19–20; 7:3; 9:28; 11:11–26; 12:12–13; 17:18; 19:19–20, 32, 34; 20:7; 25:7; 27:40; 31:32; 42:2, 18; 43:8; 45:7, 27; 47:19, 25, 28; 50:20, 22; Exodus 1:16–18, 22; 19:13; 22:18; 33:20; Leviticus 18:5; 25:35–36; Numbers 4:19; 14:38; 21:8–9; 22:33; 24:23; 31:15, 18; Deuteronomy 4:1, 33, 42; 5:24, 26, 33; 6:24; 8:1, 3; 16:20; 19:4–5; 20:16; 30:16, 19; 32:39; 33:6; Joshua 2:13; 5:8; 6:17, 25; 9:15, 20–21; 14:10; Judges 8:19; 15:19; 21:14; 1 Samuel 2:6; 10:24; 20:31; 27:9, 11; 2 Samuel 1:10; 8:2; 12:3, 22; 16:16; 1 Kings 1:25, 31, 34, 39; 17:22; 18:5; 20:31–32; 2 Kings 1:2; 4:7; 5:7; 7:4; 8:1, 5, 8–10, 14; 10:19; 11:12; 13:21; 14:17; 18:32; 20:1, 7; 1 Chronicles 11:8; 2 Chronicles 23:11; 25:25; Nehemiah 2:3; 4:2; 5:2; 6:11; 9:6, 29; Esther 4:11; Job 7:16; 14:14; 19:25; 21:7; 33:4; 36:6; 42:16; Psalm 22:26, 29; 30:3; 33:19; 41:2; 49:9; 69:32; 71:20; 72:15; 80:18; 85:6; 89:48; 118:17; 119:17, 25, 37, 40, 50, 77, 88, 93, 107, 116, 144, 149, 154, 156, 159, 175; 138:7; 143:11; Proverbs 4:4; 7:2; 9:6; 15:27; Ecclesiastes 6:3, 6; 7:12; 11:8; Isaiah 7:21; 26:14, 19; 38:1, 9, 16, 21; 55:3; 57:15; Jeremiah 21:9; 27:12, 17; 35:7; 38:2, 17, 20; 49:11; Lamentations 4:20; Ezekiel 3:18, 21; 13:18–19, 22; 16:6; 18:9, 13, 17, 19, 21–24, 27–28, 32; 20:11, 13, 21, 25; 33:10–13, 15–16, 19; 37:3, 5–6, 9–10, 14; 47:9; Hosea 6:2; 14:7; Amos 5:4, 6, 14; Habakkuk 2:4; 3:2; Zechariah 1:5; 10:9; 13:3.

[354]           The division below is not meant to be comprehensive.

[355]           Genesis 5, 11; 12:13; 19:19; 20:7.

[356]           Genesis 3:22; Psalm 22:26.

[357]           yAj. Genesis 2:7, 9; 3:14, 17, 22, 24; 6:17; 7:11, 15, 22; 9:3; 23:1; 25:7, 17; 27:46; 42:15–16; 47:8–9, 28; Exodus 1:14; 6:16, 18, 20; Leviticus 18:18; Numbers 14:21, 28; 16:30, 33; Deuteronomy 4:4, 9–10; 5:3; 6:2; 12:1; 16:3; 17:19; 28:66; 30:6, 15, 19–20; 31:13; 32:40, 47; Joshua 1:5; 4:14; Judges 8:19; 16:30; Ruth 3:13; 1 Samuel 1:11, 26; 7:15; 14:39, 45; 17:55; 19:6; 20:3, 21; 25:26, 29, 34; 26:10, 16; 28:10; 29:6; 2 Samuel 1:23; 2:27; 4:9; 11:11; 12:5, 21; 14:11, 19; 15:21; 18:18; 19:7, 35; 22:47; 1 Kings 1:29; 2:24; 3:22–23, 25–27; 5:1; 8:40; 11:34; 12:6; 15:5–6; 17:1, 12, 23; 18:10, 15; 21:15; 22:14; 2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6; 3:14; 4:30; 5:16, 20; 25:29–30; 2 Chronicles 6:31; 10:6; 18:13; Psalms 7:6; 16:11; 17:14; 18:47; 21:5; 23:6; 26:9; 27:1, 4; 30:6; 31:11; 34:13; 36:10; 38:20; 49:19; 55:16; 56:14; 63:4–5; 64:2; 66:9; 69:29; 88:4; 103:4; 104:33; 116:9; 124:3; 128:5; 133:3; 146:2; Job 3:20; 7:7; 9:21; 10:1, 12; 24:22; 27:2; 33:30; Proverbs 1:12; 2:19; 3:2, 18, 22; 4:10, 13, 22–23; 5:6; 6:23; 8:35; 9:11; 10:11, 16–17; 11:19, 30; 12:28; 13:12, 14; 14:27, 30; 15:4, 24, 31; 16:15, 22; 18:21; 19:23; 21:21; 22:4; 27:27; 31:12; Ecclesiastes 2:3, 17; 3:12; 4:15; 5:17, 19; 6:12; 7:2; 8:15; 9:3–4, 9; 10:19; Isaiah 4:3; 38:12, 16, 20; 49:18; Jeremiah 4:2; 5:2; 8:3; 12:16; 16:14–15; 21:8; 22:24; 23:7–8; 38:16; 44:26; 46:18; 52:33–34; Lamentations 3:53, 58; Ezekiel 5:11; 7:13; 14:16, 18, 20; 16:48; 17:16, 19; 18:3; 20:3, 31, 33; 33:11, 15, 27; 34:8; 35:6, 11; Daniel 12:2, 7; Hosea 4:15; Amos 8:14; Jonah 2:7; 4:3, 8; Zephaniah 2:9; Malachi 2:5.

[358]           Genesis 2:7; 7:15; Deuteronomy 12:1.

[359]           Cf. Deuteronomy 30:6, 15, 19-20; Ezekiel 3:18, 21; 18:17-32; 20:11. Compare also Numbers 21:8-9 & John 3:14-16; also Joshua 6:17 & James 2:25; Hebrews 11:31.

[360]           Cf. Genesis 2:9, 17.

[361]           Hosea 6:2; 1 Corinthians 15:4; cf. Job 19:25-27.

[362]           Amos 5:4, 6, 14.

[363]           Cf. Deuteronomy 5:33; 6:24; 16:20; Psalm 34:12-14; 41:2; Proverbs 3:2.

[364]           Cf. Exodus 30:33, 38; 31:14; Leviticus 7:20, 21, 25, 27; 17:4, 9; 18:29; 19:8; 20:17, 18; 23:39; Numbers 9:13; 15:30; Isaiah 53:8; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 14:2; also Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; cf. Psalm 125:5.

[365]           Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23.

[366]           Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38; ÔO . . . di÷kaioß e˙k pi÷stewß zh/setai.

[367]           B. B. Warfield notes:

It lies on the very surface of the New Testament that its writers were not conscious of a chasm between the fundamental principle of the religious life of the saints of the old covenant and the faith by which they themselves lived. To them, too, Abraham is the typical example of a true believer (Romans 4; Galatians 3; Hebrews 11; James 2); and in their apprehension “those who are of faith,” that is, “Christians,” are by that very fact constituted Abraham’s sons (Galatians 3:7; Romans 4:16), and receive their blessing only along with that “believer” (Galatians 3:9) in the steps of whose faith it is that they are walking (Romans 4:12) when they believe on Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead (Romans 4:24). And not only Abraham, but the whole series of Old Testament heroes are conceived by them to be examples of the same faith which was required of them “unto the gaining of the soul” (Hebrews 11). Wrought in them by the same Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:13), it produced in them the same fruits, and constituted them a “cloud of witnesses” by whose testimony we should be stimulated to run our own race with like patience in dependence on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Nowhere is the demand of faith treated as a novelty of the new covenant, or is there a distinction drawn between the faith of the two covenants; everywhere the sense of continuity is prominent (John 5:24, 46; 12:38, 39, 44; 1 Peter 2:6), and the “proclamation of faith” (Galatians 3:2, 5; Romans 10:16) is conceived as essentially one in both dispensations, under both of which the law reigns that “the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). Nor do we need to penetrate beneath the surface of the Old Testament to perceive the justice of this New Testament view. Despite the infrequency of the occurrence on its pages of the terms “faith” [and] “to believe,” the religion of the Old Testament is obviously as fundamentally a religion of faith as is that of the New Testament. There is a sense, to be sure, in which all religion presupposes faith (Hebrews 11:6), and in this broad sense the religion of Israel, too, necessarily rested on faith. But the religion of Israel was a religion of faith in a far more specific sense than this; and that not merely because faith was more consciously its foundation, but because its very essence consisted in faith, and this faith was the same radical self-commitment to God, not merely as the highest good of the holy soul, but as the gracious Saviour of the sinner, which meets us as the characteristic feature of the religion of the New Testament. Between the faith of the two Testaments there exists, indeed, no further difference than that which the progress of the historical working out of redemption brought with it.

The hinge of Old Testament religion from the very beginning turns on the facts of man’s sin (Genesis 3) and consequent unworthiness (Genesis 3:2-10), and of God’s grace (Genesis 3:15) and consequent saving activity (Genesis 3:4; 4:5; 6:8, 13f.). This saving activity presents itself from the very beginning also under the form of promise or covenant, the radical idea of which is naturally faithfulness on the part of the promising God with the answering attitude of faith on the part of the receptive people. Face to face with a holy God, the sinner has no hope except in the free mercy of God, and can be authorized to trust in that mercy only by express assurance. Accordingly, the only cause of salvation is from the first the pitying love of God (Genesis 3:15, 8:21), which freely grants benefits to man; while on man’s part there is never question of merit or of a strength by which he may prevail (1 Samuel 2:9), but rather a constant sense of unworthiness (Genesis 32:10), by virtue of which humility appears from the first as the keynote of Old Testament piety. . . . [F]rom the very beginning the distinctive feature of the life of the pious is that it is a life of faith, that its regulative principle is drawn, not from the earth but from above. Thus the first recorded human acts after the Fall—the naming of Eve, and the birth and naming of Cain—are expressive of trust in God’s promise that, though men should die for their sins, yet man should not perish from the earth, but should triumph over the tempter; in a word, in the great promise of the Seed (Genesis 3:15). Similarly, the whole story of the Flood is so ordered as to throw into relief, on the one hand, the free grace of God in His dealings with Noah (Genesis 6:8, 18; 8:1, 21; 9:8), and, on the other, the determination of Noah’s whole life by trust in God and His promises (Genesis 6:22; 7:5; 9:20). The open declaration of the faith-principle of Abraham’s life (Genesis 15:6) only puts into words, in the case of him who stands at the root of Israel’s whole national and religious existence, what not only might also be said of all the patriarchs, but what actually is most distinctly said both of Abraham and of them through the medium of their recorded history. The entire patriarchal narrative is set forth with the design and effect of exhibiting the life of the servants of God as a life of faith, and it is just by the fact of their implicit self-commitment to God that throughout the narrative the servants of God are differentiated from others. This does not mean, of course, that with them faith took the place of obedience: an entire self-commitment to God which did not show itself in obedience to Him would be self-contradictory, and the testing of faith by obedience is therefore a marked feature of the patriarchal narrative. But it does mean that faith was with them the precondition of all obedience. The patriarchal religion is essentially a religion, not of law but of promise, and therefore not primarily of obedience but of trust; the holy walk is characteristic of God’s servants (Genesis 5:22, 24; 6:9; 17:1; 24:40; 48:15), but it is characteristically described as a walk “with God”; its peculiarity consisted precisely in the ordering of life by entire trust in God, and it expressed itself in conduct growing out of this trust (Genesis 3:20; 4:1; 6:22; 7:5; 8:18; 12:4; 17:23; 21:12, 16, 22). The righteousness of the patriarchal age was thus but the manifestation in life of an entire self-commitment to God, in unwavering trust in His promises.

The piety of the Old Testament thus began with faith. . . . Faith, therefore, does not appear as one of the precepts of the law, nor as a virtue superior to its precepts, nor yet as a substitute for keeping them; it rather lies behind the law as its presupposition. Accordingly, in the history of the giving of the law, faith is expressly emphasized as the presupposition of the whole relation existing between Israel and Jehovah. The signs by which Moses was accredited, and all Jehovah’s deeds of power, had as their design (Exodus 3:12; 4:1, 5, 8, 9; 19:4, 9) and their effect (Exodus 4:31; 12:28, 34; 14:31; 24:3, 7; Psalm 106:12) the working of faith in the people; and their subsequent unbelief is treated as the deepest crime they could commit (Numbers 14:11; Deuteronomy 1:32; 9:23; Psalm 78:22, 32, 106:24), as is even momentary failure of faith on the part of their leaders (Numbers 20:12). It is only as a consequent of the relation of the people to Him, instituted by grace on His part and by faith on theirs, that Jehovah proceeds to carry out His gracious purposes for them, delivering them from bondage, giving them a law for the regulation of their lives, and framing them in the promised land into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. In other words, it is a precondition of the law that Israel’s life is not of the earth, but is hid with God, and is therefore to be ordered by His precepts. Its design was, therefore, not to provide a means by which man might come into relation with Jehovah, but to publish the mode of life incumbent on those who stand in the relation of children to Jehovah[.] ((“The Biblical Doctrine of Faith,” Warfield, in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works)

[368]           Summarizing the evidence of the New Testament, Warfield writes:

By means of the providentially mediated diversity of emphasis of the New Testament writers on the several aspects of faith, the outlines of the biblical conception of faith are thrown into very high relief.

Of its subjective nature we have what is almost a formal definition in the description of it as an “assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It obviously contains in it, therefore, an element of knowledge (Hebrews 11:6), and it as obviously issues in conduct (Hebrews 11:8, cf. 5:9; 1 Peter 1:22). But it consists neither in assent nor in obedience, but in a reliant trust in the invisible Author of all good (Hebrews 11:27), in which the mind is set upon the things that are above and not on the things that are upon the earth (Colossians 3:2, cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Matthew 6:25. The examples cited in Hebrews 11 are themselves enough to show that the faith there commended is not a mere belief in God’s existence and justice and goodness, or crediting of His word and promises, but a practical counting of Him faithful (Hebrews 11:11), with a trust so profound that no trial can shake it (Hebrews 11:35), and so absolute that it survives the loss of even its own pledge (Hebrews 11:17). So little is faith in its biblical conception merely a conviction of the understanding, that, when that is called faith, the true idea of faith needs to be built up above this word (James 2:14ff). It is a movement of the whole inner man (Romans 10:9, 10), and is set in contrast with an unbelief that is akin, not to ignorance but to disobedience (Hebrews 3:18, 19; John 3:36; Romans 11:20, 30, 15:31; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 4:2, 6; 1 Peter 1:7, 8; 3:1, 20; 4:18; Acts 14:2; 19:9), and that grows out of, not lack of information, but that aversion of the heart from God (Hebrews 3:12) which takes pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:12), and is so unsparingly exposed by our Lord (John 3:19; 5:44; 8:47; 10:26). In the breadth of its idea, it is thus the going out of the heart from itself and its resting on God in confident trust for all good. But the scriptural revelation has to do with, and is directed to the needs of, not man in the abstract, but sinful man; and for sinful man this hearty reliance on God necessarily becomes humble trust in Him for the fundamental need of the sinner—forgiveness of sins and reception into favour. In response to the revelations of His grace and the provisions of His mercy, it commits itself without reserve and with abnegation of all self-dependence, to Him as its sole and sufficient Saviour, and thus, in one act, empties itself of all claim on God and casts itself upon His grace alone for salvation.

It is, accordingly, solely from its object that faith derives its value. This object is uniformly the God of grace, whether conceived of broadly as the source of all life, light, and blessing, on whom man in his creaturely weakness is entirely dependent, or, whenever sin and the eternal welfare of the soul are in view, as the Author of salvation in whom alone the hope of unworthy man can be placed. This one object of saving faith never varies from the beginning to the end of the scriptural revelation; though, naturally, there is an immense difference between its earlier and later stages in fulness of knowledge as to the nature of the redemptive work by which the salvation intrusted to God shall be accomplished; and as naturally there occurs a very great variety of forms of statement in which trust in the God of salvation receives expression. Already, however, at the gate of Eden, the God in whom the trust of our first parents is reposed is the God of the gracious promise of the retrieval of the injury inflicted by the serpent; and from that beginning of knowledge the progress is steady, until, what is implied in the primal promise having become express in the accomplished work of redemption, the trust of sinners is explicitly placed in the God who was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). Such a faith, again, could not fail to embrace with humble confidence all the gracious promises of the God of salvation, from which indeed it draws its life and strength; nor could it fail to lay hold with strong conviction on all those revealed truths concerning Him which constitute, indeed, in the varied circumstances in which it has been called upon to persist throughout the ages, the very grounds in view of which it has been able to rest upon Him with steadfast trust. These truths, in which the “Gospel” or glad-tidings to God’s people has been from time to time embodied, run all the way from such simple facts as that it was the very God of their fathers that had appeared unto Moses for their deliverance (Exodus 4:5), to such stupendous facts, lying at the root of the very work of salvation itself, as that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God sent of God to save the world (John 6:69; 8:24; 11:42; 13:19; 16:27, 30; 17:8, 21; 20:31; 1 John 5:15), that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14), and that as His children we shall live with Him (Romans 6:8). But in believing this variously presented Gospel, faith has ever terminated with trustful reliance, not on the promise but on the Promiser,— not on the propositions which declare God’s grace and willingness to save, or Christ’s divine nature and power, or the reality and perfection of His saving work, but on the Saviour upon whom, because of these great facts, it could securely rest as on One able to save to the uttermost. Jesus Christ, God the Redeemer, is accordingly the one object of saving faith, presented to its embrace at first implicitly and in promise, and ever more and more openly until at last it is entirely explicit and we read that “a man is not justified save through faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16). If, with even greater explicitness still, faith is sometimes said to rest upon some element in the saving work of Christ, as, for example, upon His blood or His righteousness (Romans 3:25; 2 Peter 1:1), obviously such a singling out of the very thing in His work on which faith takes hold, in no way derogates from its repose upon Him, and Him only, as the sole and sufficient Saviour.

The saving power of faith resides thus not in itself, but in the Almighty Saviour on whom it rests. It is never on account of its formal nature as a psychic act that faith is conceived in Scripture to be saving,—as if this frame of mind or attitude of heart were itself a virtue with claims on God for reward, or at least especially pleasing to Him (either in its nature or as an act of obedience) and thus predisposing Him to favour, or as if it brought the soul into an attitude of receptivity or of sympathy with God, or opened a channel of communication from Him. It is not faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ: faith in any other saviour, or in this or that philosophy or human conceit (Colossians 2:16, 18; 1 Timothy 4:1), or in any other gospel than that of Jesus Christ and Him as crucified (Galatians 1:8, 9), brings not salvation but a curse. It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but Christ that saves through faith. The saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith or the attitude of faith or the nature of faith, but in the object of faith; and in this the whole biblical representation centres, so that we could not more radically misconceive it than by transferring to faith even the smallest fraction of that saving energy which is attributed in the Scriptures solely to Christ Himself. This purely mediatory function of faith is very clearly indicated in the regimens in which it stands, which ordinarily express simple instrumentality. It is most frequently joined to its verb as the dative of means or instrument (Acts 15:9; 26:18; Romans 3:28; 4:20; 5:2; 11:20; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Hebrews 11:3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31); and the relationship intended is further explained by the use to express it of the prepositions e˙k (Romans 1:17; 3:26, 30; 4:16; 5:1; 9:30, 32; 10:6; 14:23; Galatians 2:16; 3:7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 27, 28; 5:5, 1 Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 10:38; James 2:24) and dia¿ (with the genitive, never with the accusative, Romans 3:22, 25, 30; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:16; 3:14, 26; 2 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 6:12; 11:33, 39; 1 Peter 1:5),—the fundamental idea of the former construction being that of source or origin, and of the latter that of mediation or instrumentality, though they are used together in the same context, apparently with no distinction of meaning (Romans 3:25, 26, 30; Galatians 2:16). It is not necessary to discover an essentially different implication in the exceptional usage of the prepositions e˙pi÷ (Acts 3:16; Philippians 3:9) and kata¿ (Hebrews 11:7, 13; cf. Matthew 9:29) in this connexion: e˙pi÷ is apparently to be taken in a quasi-temporal sense, “on faith,” giving the occasion of the divine act, and kata¿ very similarly in the sense of conformability, “in conformity with faith.” Not infrequently we meet also with a construction with the preposition e˙n which properly designates the sphere, but which in passages like Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 appears to pass over into the conception of instrumentality.

So little indeed is faith conceived as containing in itself the energy or ground of salvation, that it is consistently represented as, in its origin, itself a gratuity from God in the prosecution of His saving work. It comes, not of one’s own strength or virtue, but only to those who are chosen of God for its reception (2 Thessalonians 2:13), and hence is His gift (Ephesians 6:23, cf. 2:8, 9; Philippians 1:29), through Christ (Acts 3:16; Philippians 1:29; 1 Peter 1:21; cf. Hebrews 12:2), by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 5:5), by means of the preached word (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:2, 5); and as it is thus obtained from God (2 Peter 1:1; Jude 3; 1 Peter 1:21), thanks are to be returned to God for it (Colossians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:3). Thus, even here all boasting is excluded, and salvation is conceived in all its elements as the pure product of unalloyed grace, issuing not from, but in, good works (Ephesians 2:8-12). The place of faith in the process of salvation, as biblically conceived, could scarcely, therefore, be better described than by the use of the scholastic term “instrumental cause.” Not in one portion of the Scriptures alone, but throughout their whole extent, it is conceived as a boon from above which comes to men, no doubt through the channels of their own activities, but not as if it were an effect of their energies, but rather, as it has been finely phrased, as a gift which God lays in the lap of the soul. “With the heart,” indeed, “man believeth unto righteousness”; but this believing does not arise of itself out of any heart indifferently, nor is it grounded in the heart’s own potencies; it is grounded rather in the freely-giving goodness of God, and comes to man as a benefaction out of heaven. . . .

[H]e who humbly but confidently casts himself on the God of salvation has the assurance that he shall not be put to shame (Romans 11:11; 9:33), but shall receive the end of his faith, even the salvation of his soul (1 Peter 1:9). This salvation is no doubt, in its idea, received all at once (John 3:36; 1 John 5:12); but it is in its very nature a process, and its stages come, each in its order. First of all, the believer, renouncing by the very act of faith his own righteousness which is out of the law, receives that “righteousness which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God on faith” (Philippians 3:9, cf. Romans 3:22; 4:11; 9:30; 10:3, 10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 5:5; Hebrews 11:7; 2 Peter 1:1). On the ground of this righteousness, which in its origin is the “righteous act” of Christ, constituted by His “obedience” (Romans 5:18, 19), and comes to the believer as a “gift” (Romans 5:17), being reckoned to him apart from works (Romans 4:6), he that believes in Christ is justified in God’s sight, received into His favour, and made the recipient of the Holy Spirit (John 7:39, cf. Acts 5:32), by whose indwelling men are constituted the sons of God (Romans 8:13). And if children, then are they heirs (Romans 8:17), assured of an incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance, reserved in heaven for them; and meanwhile they are guarded by the power of God through faith unto this gloriously complete salvation (1 Peter 1:4, 5). Thus, though the immediate effect of faith is only to make the believer possessor before the judgment-seat of God of the alien righteousness wrought out by Christ, through this one effect it draws in its train the whole series of saving acts of God, and of saving effects on the soul. Being justified by faith, the enmity which has existed between the sinner and God has been abolished, and he has been introduced into the very family of God, and made sharer in all the blessings of His house (Ephesians 2:13f.). Being justified by faith, he has peace with God, and rejoices in the hope of the glory of God, and is enabled to meet the trials of life, not merely with patience but with joy (Romans 5:1f.). Being justified by faith, he has already working within him the life which the Son has brought into the world, and by which, through the operations of the Spirit which those who believe in Him receive (John 7:39), he is enabled to overcome the world lying in the evil one, and, kept by God from the evil one, to sin not (1 John 5:19). In a word, because we are justified by faith, we are, through faith, endowed