by Mike Ratliff
ὥσπερ γὰρ διὰ τῆς παρακοῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου ἁμαρτωλοὶ κατεστάθησαν οἱ πολλοί, οὕτως καὶ διὰ τῆς ὑπακοῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς δίκαιοι κατασταθήσονται οἱ πολλοί. (Romans 5:19 NA27)
For as through the disobedience of one man, many were man sinners, so also through one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
John Gresham Machen (July 28, 1881 – January 1, 1937), on the day before he died, wrote a note to his friend John Murray saying, “I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ; no hope without it.” A study of Machen’s other writings make it clear that for him “the active obedience of Christ” refers to Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father during his time on earth which is imputed to all believers who trust in him for salvation. This is the righteousness the Father sees when he looks upon those in “the Body” rather than as we are in this temporal state of being declared righteous, but having to live in this in-between state of being sanctified. The Christian’s hope in their stand before the Father is not in how well they do in this process of sanctification, but rather in the finished work of Christ and his perfect obedience which has been imputed to their account. On the other hand, many so-called Christian leaders who are drenched in pragmatism and whose “gospel” is totally “man-centered” reject this as being “passive” as per Rick Warren’s Tweet on September 6th.
Imputation is 1sided but fellowship with Christ is 2sided.Koinonia means PARTICIPATION! God want your passion,not passivity
6 Sep via web
Here is the link to the “Tweet” above.
Before we go into the passages dealing with Christ’s Righteousness imputed to our account let us look at the word Koinonia. It is used some 19 times in the New Testament. The following is from Bill Mounce’s Expository Dictionary:
Noun: κοινωνία (koinōnia)…koinōnia generally means “fellowship, communion, participation, sharing.” It can refer to the mutual interests and sharing of members in the community of faith, the church. This mutual sharing is seen in the description of the newly founded church in Acts 2:42, in which one of the four patterns of discipleship is the early Christians’ continuing together in koinōnia. In the context of the early church in Acts, such sharing involved not only associating with each other, but also sharing food and other necessities of life.
Paul uses this the word most often (13x). He too uses it for the sharing of material things—it is one of the works he uses for his collection of funds for the poor saints in Jerusalem (Rom. 15:26; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:13). Such sharing requires a mindset that esteems others over oneself (Phil. 2:1). Paul also uses koinōnia to refer to the intimate fellowship shared between the believing community and Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9). In other contexts, he speaks of his koinōnia in the sufferings of Christ (Phil. 3:10), the fellowship of the Spirit (2 Cor. 13:13), the participation in the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharistic celebration (1 Cor. 10:16), and the sense of “partnership” that Paul and the Philippians had in spreading the gospel (Phil. 1:5; note that they helped fund Paul’s mission work, 4:14-19; cf. also Phlm. 6). By contrast, we should have no fellowship with darkness (2 Cor. 6:14).
John uses koinōnia to refer to the Christian fellowship we have with the Christian fellowship we have with one another (1 Jn. 1:3, 7). This fellowship is centered in and based on our common fellowship with the Father and his Son, Jesus (1:3, 6).
Some may say, well isn’t that what Rick Warren meant? No, he was making an either/or contrast. He was saying that if we point and hold to our Christ’s Righteousness and His Work on our behalf as our hope then we are being passive. He then asserts that real Christians WORK with passion and that those of us who are looking to Christ as our hope rather than our works, are not pleasing God, but those who work with zeal are. Correct me if I read that wrong.
I am sorry, but my righteousness is as filthy rags. My hope is in Christ not me. I agree with J. Gresham Machen, “I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ; no hope without it.” We have already read Romans 5:19 at the top of this post. What I like about that verse is that the part about us being made righteous is future. We have righteous imputed standing before God now, but when we do stand before him after this life, we will be made fully righteous with the righteousness of Christ.
How are we justified?
τί γὰρ ἡ γραφὴ λέγει; ἐπίστευσεν δὲ Ἀβραὰμ τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην. (Romans 4:3 NA27)
For what do the Scriptures say? Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Romans 4:3 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
I suppose we should have started with that verse, but isn’t it clear that our justification is a declaration and an “accounting” by God to our account of righteousness. Whose righteousness? It is Christ’s and it is based upon what? It is based upon us turning from unbelief to believing God.
τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NA27)
The one not knowing sin, on behalf of us, was made sin that we might become the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
Here we have one of the most important verses in God’s Word for understanding the meaning of the atonement and justification. Who is it that knew no sin? That is Jesus Christ. God the Father made him (Christ) sin. This does not mean that he made Jesus actively sin, but that he made Christ to be regarded and treated as “sin” even though he never sinned. Why did God do this? It was “on behalf of us.” In other words, God treated “our” sin (the sin of all who would believe in Christ) as if our sin belonged not to us, but to Christ himself. Hence, in Christ’s death, he died for “all” (2 Corinthians 5:14) and as Peter said, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). In this, our Lord Jesus Christ became our propitiation or substitution. This is what we call the substitutionary atonement. In all of this, Christ became sin and suffered on our behalf “that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” Here we see the other part of the imputation. Our sins were imputed to Christ on the cross, but at our justification, his perfect righteousness and his perfect obedience is imputed to our account. We are imputed a righteousness that is not our own. Even though we are still in the process of sanctification in this life, God regards and treats believers as having the legal status of “righteousness” because Christ bore their sins. These believers belong to Christ because they are in him.
We have just scratched the surface here and we could go much deeper into the doctrines and the passages that support them, but I am sure that if you have wisdom and discernment that belong to all in Christ, you see the shallowness and surface level foolishness of what Rick Warren is saying in that “Tweet.” It is as if he is kicking sand in the face of all the work Christ has done on the behalf of His church and now they have to just forget all that and work to get right with God. Sigh..
Again, I agree wholeheartedly with J. Gresham Machen, “I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ; no hope without it.”
Soli Deo Gloria!