Defense Refutation of the Charge
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The Trial of Elder John O. Kinnaird
11-23-02, Second Day, Second Session
Dr. Lillback Testimony
Bethany Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Winward: Mr. Tyson?
TT: We would like to place on the witness stand, an expert witness, theologian, Dr. Peter Lillback, who is a minister of the PCA, presently a pastor at Proclamation PCA, in Bryn Mawr and formerly an Orthodox Presbyterian minister and pastor, actually, of this congregation. Dr. Lillback received his PhD. in historical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. So I would like to ask Dr. Lillback to arise and assume the witness stand, wherever that is.
Winward: Right along side of you. (Pause) Dr. Lillback, I am required of each witness before he testifies to make the following affirmation: I solemnly swear that by the grace of God I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, concerning the matters on which I am called to testify. You affirm that?
Peter Lillback: I do.
TT: Mr. Moderator, may I approach the panel? I have copies of the questions I’m going to put to Dr. Lillback.
Winward: You may.
TT: At least I had five of them ..... Yes, I do.
Dr. Lillback, the charge, Arlyn A. Wilkening and Wanda J. Wilkening, members of Bethany Orthodox Presbyterian Church, in Oxford, PA, charge Ruling Elder John O. Kinnaird with teaching a doctrine of justification by faith and works, contrary to the Word of God and the Westminster Standards needs explication. What is your understanding of the meaning of the phrase, by faith and works?
PL: Well, as we already have become aware of there is ambiguity implicit in what that phrase means. You could interpret the phrase by faith and by works. You could interpret it as, by faith with works. You could interpret it by faith on the basis of works. There is an ambiguity here, and unfortunately, that’s at the very issue with which we are struggling with. There is a way in which that statement can be true or false, depending the way its explained. It’s ambiguous, unfortunately. I wish, personally, as a witness to the court. I wish the judicial panel would have been willing to clarify more fully what the charge was. It may have saved us some effort here. But that’s a personal aside.
TT: The charge speaks of the doctrine of justification. Dr. Lillback, is there a difference between a Reformed and a Lutheran hermeneutic describing justification?
PL: Yes, I think there is, and whether we are aware of it or not, we all bring assumptions, presuppositions, to our discussion of theology and other areas of life. In the evangelical tradition we are very deeply influenced by the approach that Luther took towards the Gospel. And even though we are in the Reformed tradition, it is hard to shake that and I think one of the issues that’s very much before us, is the different way we come at theology once we assume a covenantal structure. If you give me some freedom, I have a fairly extensive analysis of that, if you’ll allow me an extended answer.
When Martin Luther came on the scene there’s not one of us in the Reformational tradition that does not delight in his heroism, his commitment to Scripture, his desire to teach us that it’s Christ’s righteousness alone, by faith alone, by grace alone. We all rejoice in that. And I think that that foundational truth causes us to almost assume, as Calvin said of Luther, that he was an Apostle of Christ. But he was not fully an Apostle of Christ. He was not speaking under the full illumination of the Holy Spirit, such that he wrote inerrantly, or that he wrote in a way that was infallible. And, therefore, for example, the Reformed tradition, said Luther was incorrect when he addressed the issue of the Lord’s Supper. He did not get it right. And we’ve had the courage to address that.
In much the same way we have to have the courage to recognize that Luther’s seminal understanding of justification, while Biblical, brilliant, persuasive, powerful, and heroic, was not exhaustive or complete. I would like to point out what I mean by that.
First of all, I think, we note in history that Luther did say the Epistle of James was a book of straw because it talks about justification not by faith alone, but by works. He was prepared to write a new canon and he put that in print in his first preface to the New Testament. We know that the Reformed tradition, as it responded to that, along with others who said, that’s wrong. We must take James as part of God’s Word. It’s not only sola scriptura but tota scriptura. We must affirm the fullness of Scripture and find a way to say both. What James says, what Paul says, what Matthew says, what Habbakuk two says, etc.
So how did Calvin address the issue? Well, Calvin pointed out that when we talk about justification, we must do it in the context of the covenant. There are two great benefits of the covenant. Jeremiah 31 talks about writing the law in our heart and about forgiving our sins. That is very important to note the covenantal context of two benefits of the covenant. We’ll come back to that in a moment. Whereas when Luther addressed justification in his great epistle, which he called his Katie van Bora, his rib, his epistle to the Galatians, he dealt with justification. And when he did that, he said, that justification must be taught in such a way that whatever we speak of this doctrine, we never interpose the discussion of works whatsoever. Justification, by its definition, presuppositionally does not permit the discussion of works. Now with that presupposition in mind, you can see why James 2 was profoundly problematic for Luther. That teaching of Luther was not only the basis of his Law/Gospel dichotomy - where he said that Law is always opposed to Gospel, Gospel is always opposed to Law - it also became the basis on which he began to unfold his understanding of the whole Christian experience. That we are always sinner. We are always justified. Simil justis et peccator. That we always have the Law condemning us and we always need the Gospel forgiving us. They are opposites. Law/Gospel Hermeneutic. He calls it his divinity. That teaching was so powerful for Luther, that in the classic Lutheran orthodoxy, in the Formula of Concord, we find that his statement from Galatians is made confessional. That an confessional Lutheran is required never to talk about works in the context of justification. I did not bring a Formula of Concord, but I would be glad to show the court that, if they would like to see it in print. It’s very important. It comes from his commentary and they say, as Doctor Luther said, and they quote him from his great Galatians commentary. What I would like to submit to you that - if we jump over Calvin, to whom we’ll come back to in a moment - if we go to the Westminster Confession of Faith, which we’ve all appealed to today. Chapter eleven, section two, it says,
Faith, thus receiving and resting upon Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument in justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied by all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.
On Luther’s hermeneutic, that is heresy. You cannot talk about works in the context of justification. Why? Because Law and Gospel are opposites. They are opposed to each other, always and in all cases.
Now given that truth, that our Confession brings in, in some measure, - of course, that’s one of the issues at stake here, how do we talk about obedience, as Reformed people, in light of justification. I think that one of the things that we have to have the courage to do, is to have the courage to look at our Confession with Reformed hermeneutics in mind. That we have to say, we can’t come to this, just as Evangelicals. We can’t come to it as Reformational people. We can’t come at it as Lutherans unawares. We have to say, What does our Confession teach us?
Well, let’s go back to Calvin and then I want to look at the Confession.
Calvin made it very clear that when God redeems us, he gives us full unity with Christ. That in Christ, we are receiving our Savior, our Sanctifier, our Justifier, our Lord. It is union with Christ in all of its saving benefits. Calvin pointed out that there are two benefits to the covenant of grace. One is the writing of the Law upon the heart and the other is the forgiving of their sins. The Larger Catechism, as has been pointed out, calls one, an imputation of righteousness - that’s Christ’s forgiveness - and the other an infusion of righteousness, which is the Holy Spirit, changing us and giving us His own personal presence and power.
Now with those two benefits, Calvin, actually develops four distinct points that relate to the two benefits. That’s hinted at in our Larger Catechism, as well, and I think that was read earlier. He will point out that you must be aware that you must distinguish justification from sanctification. They are not the same. That was the error of Rome. Sanctification was what enabled you to be justified. As you become holy, you’ll be declared righteous - because you have become holy. Calvin says that’s wrong. Justification and sanctification must be distinguished.
He says further, they must be, however be viewed as inseparable. That God does not give only half of his covenant to his people. He gives it in its fullness. He does not give us Christ in only one of his offices, as Savior, but He comes in His full office, as a Savior and Lord. Christ cannot be cut in pieces. So that therefore, while we distinguish justification and sanctification, we must not separate them. In fact, Calvin will say that they must be viewed so inseparably, that we’ll view them as coming simultaneously as the gift of God’s covenant grace through the Holy Spirit. And so he will say something to the effect that even as light and fire comes with both heat and light, the fire brings both, you cannot separate those two. You can’t separate the two benefits of the covenant. They come together.
Now this fourth point, along with distinguishability, the inseparability, the simultaneity of the benefits of the covenant - this is a critical point - and at this point, Calvin consciously is moving away from Luther. He says that our personal Holy Spirit sanctifying experience in the covenant of grace, is a real righteousness. But listen. It is a subordinate righteousness. And he uses an important phrase. He says, what is subordinate, is not contrary. For Luther, Law and Gospel were on the same level and they always were opposed as enemies. One was to merit heaven. One was to receive it with a beggar’s head of faith. Calvin agrees with that before we come to Christ, Law and Gospel are opposed. But when coming to Christ - because there are two benefits of the covenant - he wants to say, that our personal righteousness, that is developed by the presence of the Holy Spirit, is a subordinate righteousness and therefore, it is not contrary. It is not two equal things fighting at the head, but it’s one by definition is already inferior, underneath and therefore is an accompanying benefit. It is not a replacement.
I think that is the fundamental issue that we have to have in mind if we’re going to understand the whole discussion we’re dealing with. If we come at this with a Lutheran, Law/Gospel dichotomy, we will see heresy whenever we see works in justification. Our Confession does not do that. It brings works into the context of justification, but it does so by explaining its role of being subordinate.
Now if you will let me go to the Confession, I’ll point this out in several instances. We’ve already noted ... if the folks that are listening want to follow in their hymnal. You’ll note in the Trinity Hymnal, you can follow in the pages in the back. Turn to page 855, and I’ll read this section again because it’s foundational. After having established, in a marvelous way, the justification that is on the ground of Christ alone, on the basis of His merits alone, on the basis of ...
Winward: You gave a page number, but for those of us that are looking ... can we have a chapter number?
PL: Chapter 11, section two. Justification, is where I’m appealing to ... The first section gives us the classic reformational doctrine of justification, which all Reformational people have agreed upon. That’s Luther, Calvin, Zwingli - they all do. They’re all there. Moving to section two, this is inconsistent with Luther, although some Lutherans would have agreed with this. But not Luther, he had his paradigm, his divinity, where he said, we can never talk about works in the context of justification. Our Confession says,
Faith, thus receiving and resting upon Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument in justification;
Faith alone, receives Christ’s righteousness. Yet do you notice the concern to clarify this?
yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied by all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.
If you interpret that in a covenantal context, it’s saying, justification is one benefit of the covenant. It is the foundational benefit, but there is a subordinate righteousness that comes along because of the second benefit of the covenant, which is sanctification. Now let’s notice how this is worked out. Turn to page 856, Sanctification, which would be WCF 13:1. You notice the last few lines, it says:
... and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
Our Confession tells us that sanctification, while it is not to be rested in, is inseparably necessary. Without it, we will not see the Lord. Sanctification is the process of the strengthening in all the saving graces of the new person. Notice again, if you turn over to page 857, under Good Works. This is Chapter 16 and paragraph 6, page 857, Of Good Works. Notice now it will make clear that our good works do not merit anything of forgiveness of sins. We cannot rest in them. But page 857, Chapter 16, paragraph 6 says :
Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works are also accepted in him ...
God accepts our good works in Christ. It says,
Not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight;
No there’s no perfect good works.
But that he,
looking upon them in his Son,
He sees our good works in Jesus and He’s,
pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
So that therefore we are told that our good works do stand before God because God has enabled them and He is forgiving them and they are, therefore, something that comes out of that work of sanctification.
Notice as we turn to the Law of God, that would be Chapter 19, page 859. This would be Chapter 19, paragraph seven. We have this important emphasis that we can never be justified by the Law as a covenant of works. We can never merit anything from God - that’s the lengthy paragraph six. But it comes to seven and it says,
Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel ...
Now I would want to submit, that confessionally the Law-Gospel Hermeneutic now evaporates before our Confession. It stands in place when we are sinners before a holy God. But once we’ve been brought into the covenant of grace, once justification is working within us, once the Holy Spirit is beginning to give us a new nature, we now see that Law and Gospel are, sweetly in conformity with each other. That is not Luther. This is Reformed. Listen to what it says,
Neither are the formentioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.
That God smiles at his people keeping the law in grace because Law and Gospel are now friends. Notice as we look again, under the idea of repentance. Repentance is a saving virture in our Confession. That’s chapter 15, and you can find that on page 856, and look at paragraph three under repentance. It says,
Although repentance, not to be rested in as any satisfaction for sin or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is an act of God’s free grace in Christ ..
Notice they’re concerned - we’re bring repentance into the context of justification, pardon, we have to be careful - that’s what it says - yet it is of such necessity to all sinners that none may expect pardon without it. Without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sins. That’s the essence of justification - Is to be forgiven, along with the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. We have to repent. Do we merit anything? No. This is a work of grace. It will start off in the first paragraph, Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace. God is giving us repentance.
And we can continue on. Look at what our Confession teaches about assurance, on page 858, Chapter 18, paragraph three. We know that assurance is one of the great benefits of justification. But our assurance, in our Confession, does not just rest in justification alone. It rests in the fullness of God’s covenantal grace, as the Holy Spirit as well as the work of Christ is brought to us. So it says, paragraph three:
This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given to him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereto. And therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruit of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.
Now what that’s telling us is that we should be able to see Christ calling us, not only to the forgiveness of His Cross, but to the new nature that necessarily accompanies it. And that we see His changing us, as well as His finished work, as what the reality that gives us the ability to have gives us assurance.
And finally, as we look at our Confession, let’s turn to the Final Judgment, Chapter 33 and paragraph one, which you’ll find on page 867. This tells us:
God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ,
What will they have to give account of before the tribunal of Christ?
...to give an account of their thoughts, their words, and their deeds; and to receive according to ...
I think we should note that the words, according to are confessional. That we would receive
what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
That there is in our Confession, a final judgment that looks at our works and we will be judged according to what we have done. By merit? No. But what Christ is doing within us? Yes. The grace of the covenant.
If I might say this, with all humility, I believe if we interpret our Confession as though the chapter on justification, paragraph one, is all there is, we will miss the heart of our Confession and its covenantal character. I believe we have a tendency to do that because we have been deeply influenced by the Reformation under Luther. I think we have been deeply influenced by modern Evangelicalism, which we all are part of in some way. And for this we can be grateful because that destroyed forever the merit of human righteousness before God. It devastated it and thank God! But we do have a danger of hearing what has been called, easy-believe-ism, that simply says, believe and don’t worry. Our confession does not sustain that. It’s been said that there is a Savior and Lord controversy in theology in America today. The Reformed side comes down on the Lordship of Christ, calling on us to show the fullness of the Covenant of Grace.
So I would just conclude this summation of our Confession saying, our founding fathers in the Confession were truly brilliant when they taught us - only faith is the instrument of our justification righteousness. But while it’s faith alone that justifies us, it is never alone in the person justified, but it always accompanied by all saving graces: of good works, a sanctification, of repentance, a pursuing assurance, a preparing for the final judgment - when we will be, according to our Confession, judged according to our good works.
TT: The first specification, Dr. Lillback, is .... and I’ll say it one more time, so we have it before us:
It is not possible that any could be a brother to Jesus Christ and enjoy with Christ, in the Kingdom of Heaven, the presence of the God the Father except that one be fully conformed to the image of Christ in true and personal righteousness and holiness. Neither the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, which all Christians receive at justification, nor the infusion of the righteousness of Christ (a false and non-existent concept taught by the Roman Catholic Church) - can suffice for that purpose. Christ does not have an imputed righteousness; His righteousness is real and personal. If we are to be conformed to his image, we too must have a real and personal righteousness.
Do you find any teaching of justification by faith and works anywhere in these statements?
PL: I would note that the statement is telling us of what it will be like to be in glory when we stand before the throne of God. And in that context, it’s telling us that we must have a justification, which is an imputation of the righteousness of Christ. And that is not the Roman Catholic doctrine of infusion, that is sanctification being confused for justification. We need to have that. But it is saying that that justification will not be by itself. That there is something more that God is doing and I think that what God is doing, according to what I read here, that there is a real sanctification that has begun in this earth, and because it’s looking to me as though as its in a glorification context, that sanctification is complete. That we now have a real and personal righteousness because the Holy Spirit has conformed us, in the perfection of glorification, to the Son Himself. Fully forgiven in Christ. Finally made perfect in righteousness, as our Confession says on the Day of Resurrection. We are glorified. And therefore it is saying that we are justified by faith, but that faith that justifies us, is not alone, but is accompanied by all of God’s saving graces. So I would ask Mr. Kinnaird if he would want to testify. If he was intending to say that we merit something, he missed it, cause I don’t see the word, merit in there. If he was intending on telling us that we were earning something beyond what Christ has done, I don’t see him saying that. But what I do see him saying, is that God’s covenantal blessings, or the redemptive graces, are broader than just justification - as wonderful as justification is - It’s only one of the marvelous gifts of grace that God gives to us in His covenant. And yet, I think as I read this, because it’s put at the end and he’s already put imputation of righteousness first, at least the logic of the statement seems to be hinting that’s it’s a subordinate righteousness. It’s not resting in our being perfect. It’s that we had to be forgiven first. That’s what makes the full conformity possible. So, I would argue that that seems to be well within the boundaries of our Confession.
TT: These selected statements, the ones I just read, clearly reference Romans 8:29, For those who he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. Are the inferences drawn from this verse, good and necessary?
PL: I think they are. I think if we’re told that Christ is going to be the firstborn among many brethren, and we’re going to be conformed to His image, a perfect God - I would think - would do His job perfectly. If it is His intent to bring all of us to be like Christ, I think God will achieve His purpose. And in achieving that purpose, He must only forgive us of our sin and give us the righteousness of Christ. But to give us a will like Christ, that longs to do the things of God. No longer be tempted with the things of this world, from the inside out. Jesus, when He was tempted, never was tempted from the inside out - always from the outside, in. That’s not like us. Temptation comes from the inside because of original sin. Finally, when we are in the presence of Christ, conformed to the image of His Son, our sin - which is very real, very forgiven - will finally be eradicated and we’ll be made in the very image of the Son. To know temptation - should there be some in eternity - only from the outside, in, not from the inside, out - because we will be made like Christ, who loved the Father intuitively, instinctively, perfectly. And I like how the Gospel hymn puts it, saved to sin no more. That’s what I can’t wait for.
TT: The statement, we too must have a real and personal righteousness, is a clear reference to Westminister Confession of Faith 13:1, which reads,
They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
Are the Theological Statements identified in specification one, in harmony with, or contrary to, the teaching of this chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith, particularly its use of the phrase, really and personally?
PL: I think they are fully in conformity with it. In fact, I think, when he says we will be really and personally conformed that he’s ultimately talking about heaven and glorification - which seems to be really simple and clear to believe that. Our confession is talking about that in space and time, right here on earth, that we are really and personally somehow looking like Christ, even now. You know, I have more trouble with what the Confession says -in reality - than what John has said in his statement about what it will be like in heaven, because that is a slam-dunk. I look at my own heart and say, Do I see any real and personal sanctification in my heart right now? Some days I say, Lord where is it? I’ve a long way to go. But my Confession tells me, even now, as a sinner, as I’m being sanctified by grace, I should be able to really and personally look and see some progress unto the likeness of Christ. I think that’s why we talk about in our catechism, improving our baptism. Can we see any progress?
TT: Do you believe, in agreement with these Theological Statements, that the imputation of the righteousness of Christ cannot suffice for the purpose envisioned by sanctification? If so, why?
PL: I would have to say -very carefully- that you could read that as an irreverent statement attacking the character of Christ in His finished work. I don’t think that’s what the author would have intended to have done. If he did, I would criticize him.
I think what he is saying is that the finished work of Christ in justification, not only merited our forgiveness, not only enabled God to give us a complete imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ to the sinner, but he also purchased the work of the Holy Spirit. And that Christ did not intend to give us just half of the Covenant of Grace that He promised to His people. But that He truly intended to go beyond just bringing us - if you will - to a place of forgiveness and now standing in Christ. But He wanted us to begin to live out that life ourselves, to be become like our older brother - to become like our Father. And therefore, for Christ to have only done forgiveness and imputation, would’ve been Christ did not complete the promise that the Father had given to His people in the New Covenant. Because the Father did not simply say, I will forgive their sins and remember them no more. He said, I will forgive their sins and remember them no more and I will write my law in their hearts and I will give them a new heart - Ezekiel 36.
So that I think - yes, it is correct to say that it is incomplete. Because God intended to do a lot more than that. As wonderful and unthinkable as it is, that we can be forgiven and clothed in Christ and given a righteousness not our own, that let’s us stand before Him. That’s unthinkable. But God did not stop there. I got more. And My promise will be fulfilled in you, and I’m going to make you become like My Son, day by day, until finally, perfectly in My presence.
TT: Are you about to gravel us, Mr. Moderator?
Winward: Just as a point of information, you have taken thirty minutes to this point.
TT: Would you be willing to allow us to stop now and continue on with further questions about specification one. Because the three specifications are not equal in terms of the questions we want to put to this witness. I can assure you that we will not take more than the hour and a half for the three together. But they may not break exactly where the specifications break, if that’s agreeable to the court?
TT: And, Mr. Moderator, may we have a two minute break just now?
TT: Thank you.
[Recording restarts in mid-sentence.]
TT: ..... it references John Kinnaird’s statement, It is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on that Day of Judgment, page six. The reference is clearly to Romans 2:13,
For It is not the hearers of the law who will be righteous before God, but the doers of the law, who will be justified.
Is it correct contextually to understand the phrase, will be justified, as referring to the future Day of Judgment? And is the justification viewed as theoretical, or actual?
PL: Well, for me to speak definitively here would be for me to presume that I can solve an exegetical conundrum that has existed for centuries. And therefore, I can only speak from the vantage point of saying that there are truly men of good will in Reformed theology that disagree on this text. There are those who would say, Yes, it is true, that if you can keep the law, you will be justified but since there is no one who can, after the fall of Adam as we stand in original sin. Therefore, it can only be theoretical. I understand that to be a very possible and confessionally sound explanation.
However, I also believe that there are Reformed theologians who take the viewpoint that it is not theoretical, but it is actual. And I think they can do so based upon a proper understanding of the Covenant of Grace. And I would explain it this way: For those who believe that we can, in fact, be justified at the end time by this text, let’s say, on the Day of Judgement, as our Confession says, we’ll be acquitted. As Matthew 12 says, we will be acquitted by our words, by what we have spoken. There is that end time eschatological justification language that’s used. That the understanding here would be, it could not be a man standing as though on his own merit, as though he were keeping this as a Covenant of Works. If Mr. Kinnard were teaching this to say that a man can take the law and fulfill it as a Covenant of Works and therefore be declared righteous, that would be out of accord with all of Reformed theology and would be a heresy. I don’t think that he intends to say that.
I do think we can say that it is possible for this to be fulfilled because of what Calvin will say in the Institutes, the agreement of the promises of the law with the promises of the Gospel. If I could flesh that out a little bit? It’s what our Confession said earlier when it says that the Law and the Gospel do sweetly comply, or conform with one another.
Before we come to Christ, the Law has an absolute demand that no one can keep and it condemns us. Once we come to Christ, we are justified by faith, forgiven. His righteousness is imputed to us. One of the benefits of the Covenant of Grace is to receive a new nature and it also has a new relationship with God. He no longer now is a strict Judge, a criminal Judge before sinners. He now becomes a Father. We are adopted. And as His adopted children, He looks at us and He sees -one - that He has adopted us. He’s forgiven us. And further, He sees the beginning of a new life that reflects the law of His family, the law of His household. He sees its very imperfect. But He sees that its His work. And He delights in what He is seeing and His sons and daughters. And further, as they develop, He sees they are making progress, but never enough. But He has died to forgive their sins, even in their good works. So that at the end of time, because of the new nature, because of the continuing benefit of justification, the forgiveness of our sins, the Father will be able to look at His children and say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord. And, You’ve been faithful in little. You be faithful in much. And that helps us to understand why the Lord will say those works passages at the end of history in the judgment ...
[End of tape three, side one]
[Tape three, side two]
PL: .... into adoption, the process of sanctification, that brings us then to the eschatological justification of the just. And if I might add, this goes to an earlier discussion. I think it’s important to make it clear. That in Reformed theology there have been several nuances with regard to justification. There obviously is , in one sense, only one justification. It’s God looking at a sinner. Looking at a person, let’s say, a creature, and declaring him right.
But we recognize that throughout the span of God’s work in history, there’s a great breath. We can have a person in eternity past being viewed as justified by God because of His decree. The elect are already viewed as sinners and yet justified -in some sense - in God’s mind. Some theologians have spoken about justification from eternity in the decree of God. We can have the justification of the one who can keep the law of God perfectly, that’s hypothetical. That has never been fulfilled by anyone, except Jesus Christ, who fulfills the Covenant of Works, if you will, by fulfilling all the law of God. So there is the true, authentic meritorious justification and that was done by Christ. We can think of what Paul will say in Romans 3 about the justification and the resurrection, by our union with Christ, every one of the elect people are already justified in some sense, even before they came to faith because they were united with Christ. We are crucified with Christ. We’ve been raised together with Christ and somehow He is raised for our justification - guaranteed that faith would be given to us -that we would be righteous.
There is the justification of the sinner, wherein the form of conscience before God we hear the decree of the end day made sure by the Holy Spirit’s assurance that we’re right now with God forgiven now. That’s the justification of the sinner.
We come to James chapter two and I think we have there, what I think has been called the justification of the just. It is not just the world looking at Abraham and saying, Boy you really did a nice thing! But it is God Himself looking at Abraham and said, Your righteousness that was by faith has now been fulfilled in your obedience. And the Reformed theologians have called that the justification of the just. The man who has already been forgiven, Holy Spirit empowered, is now being declared right by God in what he does -not as the grounds of his righteousness - no, that’s Christ. But as according to, according to the will of God, consistent with God’s nature and what God had called Abraham to do.
And then finally, as we’ve noticed the eschatological end time judgment that is hinted at in our Confession. It’s certainly, I think suggested by Romans 2 here and also by Matthew 12, that we will be vindicated or acquitted by our words. That’s an amazing thought. That the day will come when the Lord will roll the tapes of history and say, Notice what you’ve said in that circumstance. You brought a blessing instead of a curse. That looks like someone in My family, I justify you in that.
So while we must in experience, the phenomenology of conversion, distinguish the points when we are justified by faith from sin. God, who is outside of time, looks at this entire process is absolutely sure from His decree from end to future. And He guarantees that those whom he has justified in time by faith alone, He will be able to say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant because I have given you my Spirit.
So I believe that this passage of Romans 2:13 can be viewed theoretically and be very Reformed. I believe it can be viewed very actually and be very Reformed. If you understand the fullness of the justification language of Reformed theology and the reality that God enables us by forgiveness and the new nature and glorification to enable us to truly stand in grace and show that we are His people. In fact, I’ll conclude by noting that great benediction of the Apocalypse where it says,
I heard a great voice cry out and it was the Spirit who said, Blessed are those henceforth who die in the Lord. They shall rest from their labors and their works shall follow them.
The labors that they’ve done will enter into heaven. They may be those they have lead to Christ. Maybe the works of worshiping the Lord. Not because they merit anything. But they’ve died in the Lord. And in the Lord, they live according to His standards. And they will somehow be declared to truly to be His children.
TT: The next question has probably already been answered, but we’ll look at the verse again, in Matthew 12: 36 and 37, Jesus says, I tell you on the Day of Judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. For by your words, you will be justified. And by your words, you will be condemned.
Is this statement, It is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on the Day of Judgment, in harmony with or contrary to Jesus’ words?
PL: Well, if you take the interpretation that I proposed of an actual justification at the end time, then you would certainly say, yes, this is in harmony with that. There is a sense, by grace, at the end of history when God will look at the words of our mouths and He will show that, in spite of our imperfections, that we really did love Jesus. This is very consistent with the early church. You read in I Corthianians, I think it is 12: 3, that no man can say Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit. And the idea that the confession of faith in the ancient church was to confess Jesus as Lord. And, I think, in some sense, this passage may suggest, while others will be using Jesus’ name as a curse word and using it lightly, others will be shown saying, Jesus is Lord, and this is why I want to live this way. I love Christ. The Lord will say, Look you have fruit that is consistent with your nature. I declare you yet again, you are My child. The end time justification has been brought forward for the sinner, anticipating the fullness that will ultimately will be at the end. Reformed theologians have called that, the already and the not yet. We fully taste it, even though it is not complete, but it is sure because we are going to get there.
TT: In 2 Corinthians 5:10, we read, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Is the statement, It is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on that Day of Judgment, in harmony with, or contrary to this warning of the Word of God?
PL: I would just simply say it’s consistent with it, in harmony with it. I would note that the reality of that judgment has been rejected by some in our day. Among the many painful realities of Harold Camping’s teaching, for example, rejecting the viability of the Church in this age. He has, for many years, denied that there is a final judgment. And I think Evangelicalism has often tried to say, >don’t worry, you won’t have to stand before the Lord because everything has been paid for in Christ. The Lord says, No. You’ll never have to stand before Christ on the great white throne judgment seat. That’s been turned into a throne of grace. A Father. A beloved Son. An older brother is seated there. But when I came before my father, who I never had a doubt that he loved me, he often called me to account for the things that were not right and praised me for the things that were good. And so our Heavenly Father, as Hebrews 12 will tell us, anyone whom the Father loves, he chastens. In that final sanctification process entering into glorification, He will wipe every tear from our eyes and I think some of those tears will be the final repentance of our life. We’ll say, Lord, I can’t believe I did that knowing You. So that I believe there truly is a judgment. The good and evil that we’ve done, we’ll be called to account for it. That’s a motivation for our personal sanctification today. The reality of that, however, is not our standing before God. We are coming, as you noticed, to the judgment seat of Christ. It’s not the great white throne judgment of the final vindication of the saved and lost. It’s a throne of mercy. Our Savior is there. But in grace, there is still sanctification. In grace, there is still the chastening of love. And that judgment is real. And that’s going to be a time of showing that we’ve fallen short, but in grace we have been faithful to the Lord.
TT: We’ve already read this, but once more, WCF 33.1 states:
God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
And Larger Catechism Q. and A. 90 states:
At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted ...
So far that answer, there’s more to it, but just that much.
Is the statement, it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on the Day of Judgment, in harmony with, or contrary to the teaching of this chapter of the WCF and this answer of the Larger Catechism?
PL: I would say it’s in harmony with it. The language acquitted is the language of a juridical verdict reached in a tribunal, a forensic act. That’s justification language. There is a justification at the end of history that is clearly in mind. And the Lord is telling us that because of the finished work of Christ, because of His grace, that we will not only be perfectly clothed in His righteousness, but He will have changed us through history until now finally perfectly in glorification to be like Jesus Christ Himself.
TT: I’ll move on then, if the court is pleased, to the second specification.
Wilkening: May I have ...
Winward: Mr. Wilkening.
Wilkening: ... a question? Are we going to have an opportunity to direct questions to this witness?
Wilkening: That’s seems to me, Mr. Moderator, to be in conflict with the Book of Discipline wherein witnesses called can be cross-examined by the other party.
Winward: Can you cite that?
Wilkening: It will take me a minute. (Pause)
Winward: .... Witnesses. But there doesn’t seem to be a provision there for the prosecution to cross-examine witnesses. You might want to check that.
Wilkening: I’ll continue. Maybe if you proceed, I’ll continue to resource this and we can come back to this?
TT: Mr. Moderator?
Winward: Mr. Tyson.
TT: The court, please. The accused would rather that we sit down now, and let the prosecution take their half-hour ...
Winward: For the second specification?
TT: ... and then alternate. For the second specification ... No. For the first specification because they haven’t ...
Winward: They have already presented
TT: For the second specification and then we will do it. With hopes that we can get through all three before Mr. Lillback has to depart.
Winward: O.K. And it occurs to me that the Moderate perhaps did not make this known. Or you may not be aware of this, but we had anticipated going until five o’clock. That was the terminus for the session today. Mr. Wilkening. May I suggest if you don’t plan to do it, would you give the wording of the second specification? There seem to be many here who may not have the actual charges in hand. We want to know what we are talking about.
Wilkening: O.K. To simply read the specification?
Wilkening: Number Two. O.K.
****** [To read Mr. Wilkening’s presentation for the second specification, see other link] ****
Winward: Mr. Tyson
TT: Continuing with Dr. Lillback. We are talking about the same sermon, Though the Waters Roar ... The first section of the sermon that is identified as being egregious, or as at least supporting the charge. Once more is this:
Thus we rightly conclude that those inside the city are those who have kept the law of God and those only. So, we have a pretty simple answer to our last two questions. Inside the city are those who do righteousness and outside are those who do evil.
-----Transcript, p. 5
Dr. Lillback, is there any affirmation here that those inside the city have been justified by works in that works form either the instrument, or the ground of the justification?
PL: Once again if we’ll remember the notion of the hermeneutic by which we read Biblical theology. If you’re coming at this with the notion of a justification paradigm of salvation - that is, that justification is the only saving element. Then you would have to say, yes, that is exactly what it says.
But if you’re reading this with a Reformed hermeneutic in mind, that recognizes that justification is the foundational benefit of the grace of God and the covenant, but it is accompanied by many other saving graces. Then you can understand that there are those who are doing good and not doing evil, are not either the instrument or the ground, but the necessary accompaniment of those who truly trust in Christ.
Now If I can ground that in the Confession or Catechism .... Let’s go to the Catechism, for a moment. I think it’s interesting when you read the language - this is page 875 in our hymnal. If you have the Catechism, it’s question 86. The Shorter Catechism:
What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.
Saving faith is the embracing of the entirety of Christ and resting in all of who Christ is. Now what does that mean? How is Christ offered to us in the Gospel? Well, our Catechism, again, specifies very clearly that Christ fulfills three offices towards His people. You can find this on page 871, or Shorter Catechism questions 23 through 26. It says: What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer? Christ is offered to us in the Gospel as Redeemer. While Christ is our Redeemer executes the offices of a Prophet, of a Priest, and of a King, both in the estate of humiliation and exaltation.
What does He do in the office of prophet? Question 24. He executes the office of a prophet in revealing to us, by his Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation. So that when we embrace Christ, as He is offered to us in the Gospel, we embrace Him as a prophet who says, I’ve got a will that you need to do for Me. I’m your Prophet. We embrace Him also as a priest. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God and making continual intercession for us. He comes to us and says, I’ve called on you as a prophet for you to obey me. You haven’t done a very good job. You’re a sinner. You need me not just as a prophet You need me as a priest. Christ is offered as a priest. We rest on Him. Embrace Him in saving faith as a priest who forgives us for failing to honor His Word as a prophet. But then finally Christ is offered to us as in the office of a king. In executing that office of a king we’re told that Christ executeth this office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies. What grace does now is that it makes us, who did not honor the prophet, makes us honor the prophet, because we are forgiven and we now embrace Him.
So that what we see is that when Christ is offered in a Reformed hermeneutic in the Gospel, we’re embracing Him as Prophet, Priest and King. We’re embracing the full Covenant of Grace. And therefore, when it says those who are in the city are those who do righteous, from a Reformed understanding, it’s saying, Christ has fulfilled His office as our king, as well as our priest, as well as our prophet and that we can delight that He is successful. And so when we preach the Gospel with a Reformed sense, we can say, Are you looking to Christ just to be your priest? Just to forgive you? He’s your prophet, too. He’s also your king and He’s coming into your life to change you. For on that day when you enter into the city, you’ll be a loyal subject to the King, and you’ll conform yourself to His image.
Now in a Reformed hermeneutic, no, there is no notion of this being now the ground, or the means. It’s rather: Christ is the ground, faith is the instrument, but through the ground and the instrument, by grace, Christ is victorious as King changing us to be His people, which we hear and should conform to.
TT: Do you agree, Dr. Lillback, that what is affirmed here is only that those inside the city have done righteousness, and thus have kept the law of God, and not that they find themselves inside the city on the basis of, or because of, their good works?
PL: I look at the brief quote that’s here in the charges and the specifications and I find no language on the basis of or because of. Again, I would make clear that it would be potential to read that wording into this text, if that was the paradigm of theology that you worked with. But in a Reformed approach, where there is a fullness of the Covenant of Grace understood, this would not require that language whatsoever but would be very consistent with the notion that the Holy Spirit is bringing us into obedience to Christ, who is our Prophet, Priest and King.
TT: O.K. The second and longer section cited in support of the charge in this specification two is once more:
Romans 2 puts it this way. >God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil there will be wrath and anger.’ Now by this we know the decision, the judgment as to who enters the city and who stays outside for eternity will be made on that great day of judgment in accordance with what you have done in this life. In fact our scripture lesson says the very same thing at verse 12. Behold, I am coming! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Transcript, page 6).
I have three questions for you for this portion of the specification. The first one is this: How do you understand the phrase, according to? Does it mean that God will give to each person, grounded upon or based upon what he has done? Or that God’s donation will be consonant with or invariably accompanied by what he has done?
PL: I would understand it in the later sense, according to as making reference to a scale or a standard that is laid before, not necessarily one that we’re depending on. For example, if we try to take these prepositions and make them meaningful, if we can get an illustration that makes sense. We are on the ground of the floor of this building - that is, underneath us. O.K.? But we are not living according to the floor. We are not trying to be like floors or to measure ourselves by it. We are not coming to this discussion by means of the floor. This floor didn’t carry us here. We’re not being moved along by it. But we are conducting all our procedures according to the Book of Church Order. It becomes our standard, which we are conforming with. We are trying to follow its rules. So, Christ is the ground of our righteousness. The Holy Spirit in grace creates faith within us that becomes the means by which we come. But when Christ and the Spirit complete the work with us, we reflect the standard which God says is what I want us to be like, which is My nature. So the Judgment will always be in accordance with the very nature of God. He has to be consistent with Himself. The Law of God is just God’s Holy nature and He cannot tolerate that which is inconsistent. Much as you might stand up today and say, I object. That’s not according to the Book of Church Order. It’s the standard by which we all operate. So there is a standard that is in mind, but it’s not the basis. It’s not the means or instrument, but it is the reflection of that which ought to be. And the will of God will rule in Heaven and we will be like Him. If we are not, we won’t be there. Because God will not allow evil in His presence. His eyes are too pure to look upon iniquity. The Lord God does not change. Therefore, Israel, you are not consumed because His mercies are new every morning. We must be consistent with God’s nature.
TT: It’s seems as though this next question relates to the middle sentence, or one of the middle sentences of this specification, where Mr. Kinnaird is quoted accurately as saying, Now by this we know the decision the judgment as to who enters the city and who stays outside for eternity will be made in that great day of judgment in accordance with what you have done in this life.
And the question is simply this: In the words of the charge, do you find here any teaching of justification by works, in that works form either the instrument or the ground of the justification?
PL: Again, I find no language that requires that understanding. I could see how someone might want to interpret that into it. But a good Reformed understanding would make a clear distinction between what is the according to and what is the ground and the means, as we have already noted the distinction. For example, if you take some Scriptures in mind. Galatians 5:4 says, You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ. You have fallen away from grace. The Bible is very clear that if you come by the means of the Law to be right with God, you’re not going to get into Heaven. This says you’re going to get there, there is an absolute contradiction to Galatians 5:4. But you have to read this verse this way. You could read it not in that way but as we find in a couple other texts by Paul in I Corthinians chapter one, verse 30, that says that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, our holiness, and redemption. He is Prophet, Priest and King. He comes in His fullness. And we will be consistent with His nature if we are in His presence. God will see to it through the gift of the Holy Spirit sent by Christ that we’ll ultimately be glorified.
Similarly you read Paul in Romans chapter six and verse 22, but it says now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness and the result - this is a striking phrase - the result of holiness, having been redeemed, is eternal life. In other words, because we’re being conformed to the image of Christ, we will be able to be in His presence. We are forgiven. The Holy Spirit has worked that faith in us. He is now working that change in us. He’ll complete it in glorification and will we be according to the likeness of God. So that holiness leads us into the very presence of God. So that if we see a full Reformed hermeneutic of soteriology, that it’s not just a justification paradigm. If it’s rather justification and sanctification, if it’s the full Covenant of Grace, then, yes, we will be judged according to God’s law, rewarded according to God’s law because we have been made according to God’s nature. We’ll be like Him. He’s our firstborn brother. ...
[End of Tape three, side 2]
[Start of Tape four, side 1 - starting in mid-sentence]
... his role also as Prophet. It would be to separate the all redeeming grace of God. So I think, in a Reformed setting, we look at this and see it, no, this is just not justification as salvation. Justification is one of the incredible, unbelievable benefits of God’s redeeming work. But the Holy Spirit is inseparably connected with that and He will call us to be like the Lord. So, no, our works are not the ground. Our works are not the means. But they are according to the standard that we will be like because we will be conformed to the image of Christ. And so that is Biblical language, as you’ve already noted, that’s quoting Revelation 22:12. It says we will be judged according to what we’ve done in this life, which is according to God’s nature, which is according to His will. That’s Biblical and I think it’s very Reformed, as well.
TT: So finally, on this specification, would you agree that what is taught here - that is, in Mr. Kinnaird’s sermon - is justification according to works, as works are the fruit of faith, on the basis of Romans 2:6-8 and 13 and Revelation 22:12?
PL: Well, I could put it this way, a judgment of charity, a Christian judgment, would take a man in the entirety of his teaching and say, Do you believe in justification by faith alone? Oh, yes. But how can you say this? Well, obviously, unless he’s willing to think contradictions simultaneously, you would have to say that he’s intending it as the fruit of faith. Unless he is able to hold contradictory theologies at the same time. And my experience with Mr. Kinnaird in the past is that if there’s anything he is, is very logical. He is a very precise thinker and that he does not hold contradictory notions. And so I think that if he is able to hold justification by faith alone through Christ alone by grace alone and say this, the only way he can say that and be consistent is to say it within the boundaries of Reformed theology, which is to say it is according to the nature of God, which is the work of the Spirit, which is utterly consistent with Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King and justification by faith alone.
TT: Thank you.
Wilkening: Mr. Moderator?
Winward: Mr. Wilkening
Wilkening: I believe I have found the section in the Book of Discipline that addresses the question we had earlier and which we couldn’t resolve...
Wilkening: If you turn in the 2000 edition on page 115, near the bottom of that page, it reads, Witnesses summons at the request of the accused shall first be examined by the accused. If the trial judicatory cross-examines, the accuse shall be given an opportunity to re-direct examination.
Now much of the ... as you’ve read through the Book of Disciple regarding judicial matters it seems to me and, maybe this is just my opinion, but it seems to me, that much of the language of the Book of Discipline is directed toward, or is informed by, the trial judicatory being, if you want to say, bringing the charge. It does clearly talk there about the accused first questioning a witness and then someone else, at least, someone else questioning the witness. It talks about first and second. Obviously it needs ... obviously it would be the prosecution that would be the accusers who would be the ones that would direct questions to the witnesses. Would it not?
Winward: Mr. Wilkening, while I’m sympathetic with what you are saying, my fear is that if we got into this kind of questioning, it would go back and forth for a long, long time. And I would direct your attention to that last sentence, if the trial judicatory cross-examines. I understand you’re saying, I understand what you’re saying, but in this case, we are the trial judicatory. We have not elected to cross-examine.
Wilkening: I understand that. You do not agree with me that the accusers in any case, in any form, under the form of government or Book of Discipline, have the opportunity to question a witness?
Winward: What the Moderator would freely admit is that the Book of Discipline is not as clear as perhaps we would like it and I would still hold, by my fear, that if we entered into that process, then there would be back and forth questioning that would go on far longer than we would want.
Wilkening: I sympathize with that and, if it would allay the concerns of the court, that would not be the case. I would appreciate the ability at least if we could at least direct a couple questions to the witness. It would not be ... it is not our intention to make this a long drawn out process. And it is certainly, as you’ve said yourself, the book is not fully illuminating as to every aspect of the matter. I think it is fully within our ability to request this.
Watson: I motion for a recess.
Winward: There has been a motion for a recess. Is there a second? All in favor of a recess, say >aye.’ We’ll be recessed for a couple of moments to consider that.
Wilkening: Mr. Moderator? Could that be five or ten minutes so we ....?
Winward: At least.
TT: Mr. Moderator?
Winward: Mr. Tyson?
TT: Before we recess, would it be helpful if the defense has no objection to the accusers directing questions within some limits.
Wilkening: It’s not going to be just open ended.
Winward: This judicatory has been persuaded by the argument presented by Mr. Wilkening and we will allow cross-examination of Dr. Lillback according to the following terms. We will allow one person from the side of the accusers to question Mr. Lillback for up to ten minutes. Beginning with specification number one, if you want to direct questions there. And up to ten minutes for specification two. And if there is re-direct, or re-cross, we will allow a brief time for that. And that would be the end of it.
Wilkening: We are going to have to beg your indulgence here. Just in that, the person who would be doing so is Rev. Kuchke and apparently he’s still in the line somewhere. So it puts us in a little of a hard position here. He is the one that will be directing those questions.
Wilkening: So...due to the break here. He should be back any minute.
Winward: All right. Then we’ll continue our break until Mr. Kuschke ...
*************** (break in recording) *****************
[The tape begins again with Mr. Wilkening reading his presentation for the third specification. See the link for his paper. Mr. Kuschke’s cross-examination takes place at the end of Dr. Lillback’s testimony.]
Winward: Mr. Tyson?
TT: When we come to the third specification, Mr. Moderator, and members of the panel, we do enter a slightly different type of evidentiary material. The sermon was the sermon. He preached it. He preached it in church. People could hear it and there already has been testimony of as to how it was perceived to have been taken by at least some in the congregation. The doctrinal or the theological paper that he presented to the session, was just that, an attempt to elucidate his views and to alleviate fears that they were views that were unacceptable. And so that’s the whole purpose and so in entirely appropriate to lean on those passages from the sermon and those passages from the theological statements that appear in the minds of the accusers to ground the charge. And we are not entering any objection to the type of material here because we’ve already stimulated that these postings are, indeed, Mr. Kinnaird’s postings. The only thing I would personally point out, the reason why I don’t participate in these chat rooms, or whatever they are, there are other words for them, is just because of that. Here you are ... it’s like talking to your wife in your bedroom. You don’t get charged for those things that you say. Now this is a little bit less personal and intimate that that. Nevertheless, it is kind of like believers trying to find out things. They are talking together and there is give and take. There’s questions. I’m not at all sure that people who participate in those chat rooms realize that - watch out!- what you say is going down, somebody’s taking it down, and it’s a final statement of what you had to say about that. At least, at that point and so I would ask the court to just keep that in mind when you review these statements. They are in the context of a full posting and that posting is in the context of responding to other postings.... not always, sometimes there are the initial posting...but please keep that in mind. We beg of you.
So the third specification has as its source this posting that is declared to be on 3:01 pm on January the 6th 2002, actually the posting was on 4:01, not 3:01, Mr. Kinnaird tells me, but that’s not significant or heavily significant.
Here it is again, the first one:
These good works are a required condition if we would stand in the Day of Judgement and they are supplied by God to all His people.
Three questions to you about that two line statement, Dr. Lillback. First, are we confronted here with a teaching of justification by works in that works form either the instrument or ground of the justification?
PL: Well, to repeat what has been a common statement, it is potentially possible to read it that way, especially if you come at it with a justification alone paradigm of salvation. If you come at it from a covenantal model of the multiple graces of God, all of which are free. Then I don’t think it is required to read it that way. We can certainly talk about required condition as an aspect of salvation. In fact, maybe the best way we can do that is to ground it in the Confession and Catechisms again. I’m struck by the language of Question 85, it says, What doth God require of us? That’s a confessional word, being required to do something is Biblical. You’ll recognize that that question goes on to say that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin. So what’s required to be delivered from sin? Page 875, Shorter Catechism Question 85. The answer catechetically to escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, but it doesn’t stop there. It says, repentance unto life. Doesn’t stop there. It says, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.
And so, if salvation is in view - now this is not justification - remember we are in a Reformed system of theology that is not justification-centered, it’s salvation covenantally-centered and it’s telling us what all God requires of us to be saved from His wrath and curse for sin. And it goes on to tell us in Question 86, what is faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace whereby we receive and rest on him alone for salvation as he’s offered to us in the gospel. We’ve had an occasion to talk about that. We are required to rest on Christ as Prophet, Priest and King. One who tells us God’s will, who saves us from our sin, and then subdues our sin and changes us.
But we are also told in Question 85 that we are required to escape God’s wrath, curse due upon us for sin, by repentance unto life. And that’s defined as repentance unto life is a saving grace. It is a necessary part of salvation. Whereby a sinner out of the true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience. The commitment to new obedience is a part of what God requires of us to be delivered or saved from sin. Now notice that our catechism is not afraid to talk about salvation in a broader way than justification, because I reiterate, this is a Reformed catechism. It emphasizes that justification is one of many graces that God gives to His people.
Notice further Question 88, hat are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption? O.K. That’s salvation. What are these outward means that God gives to us whereby Christ becomes our Redeemer? Well, Question 88 answers, The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer. Now notice this phrase, this is remarkable, all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation. God is using our prayer, our involvement in the sacraments, our involvement in the Word, our saving faith in Christ, all of that to bring us into salvation.
Now I think we would have a real problem if someone said you had to have a sacrament to be justified. That’s an error. But our Confession has no problem saying the sacraments are normally a part of how you are being saved because salvation is broader than justification. It encompasses it. And this is a good illustration of what I was trying to argue earlier where there is a evangelical reductionism to justification as being salvation. Maybe I could put it this way. In an opening speech we were told that we must be very careful that we do not hold anything that is inconsistent with the Covenant of Grace. Well, I can only say a hearty, Amen, to that at this point. I’ve tried to argue that what we must not do is not only be consistent with the Covenant of Grace but we must not truncate the Covenant of Grace by reducing it to one redemptive benefit. I think we could see an error by only talking about sanctification to the exclusion of justification - that’s an error. To talk about justification to the exclusion of sanctification - that’s an error. To talk about those two benefits and not bring in repentance, our Confession says, that’s an error. In Reformed theology we see the breadth of God’s grace and thereby we embrace the great Lutheran insight of the sola fide, but we recognize that it is a statement that it is capable of being both true and false.
In a very remarkable statement, that I don’t have immediately in front of me now, but I would call your attention to it. In the last commentary that Calvin wrote before he died was on the prophet Ezekiel and there is a passage therein where he says the statement that we are justified by faith alone is true or false, depending on how you interpret it. Isn’t that interesting? He says if you take it adverbially, that is alone with reference to justification, then its true because that’s arguing that faith is the only instrument of justification. If you take, however, alone adjectivally, that alone with reference to faith, then it’s false. That’s saying only faith - faith all by itself with nothing else around it - that does not justify. And Calvin was arguing in those words a very powerful point that justification is covenantally-centered. That we cannot look at only one part of the Covenant of Grace but its breadth
Turretin is certainly viewed by Reformed theologians, Presbyterians, especially Orthodox Presbyterians as one of the fathers of orthodoxy. And he has a remarkable illustration in his Elentic Theology where he is dealing with the issue of faith and works. He uses a wonderful illustration that I think is good for preachers. We all ought to learn this. He said faith and obedience are like the eye in the body. The eye alone sees. Nothing else. But the moment you take the eye away from the body, the eye dies and it sees nothing. Faith alone sees. But the moment that faith is separated from the living body of redemption, it becomes a dead faith and does not justify. And thereby we see the wonderful illustration of Turretin saying the unique instrumentality of faith is like the eye, that alone sees. But the fullness of the Covenant of Grace, with its call to holiness, its repentance, its use of the means of grace, that’s like the body in which the eye occupies. Now I don’t think any of us would call Turretin a heretic. He is the father of Reformed orthodoxy and he was trying to make the point that faith alone is true or false, depending upon how you interpret it. So I would say that the language of requirement, the language of obedience being required in a Reformed and Catechetical statement, is certainly well within our system.
And let me ground it, finally, just in church history. The first treatise that was ever written on covenant theology was called Of the One and Eternal Testament or Covenant of God, written in 1534 by Henrick Bullinger. Seventeen years after the Ninety-five Theses of Luther. He developed that in the context of Genesis, Chapter 17. In fact, he said that that chapter is the target of all of the Bible. Not all would argue that, but that was his view. He said that salvation has two requirements, two conditions. One is faith and the other one is walking before God and being holy. The two benefits of the Covenant of Grace found in Jeremiah 31. Abram is said by God, Walk before me and be holy. Abram believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. They both are true.
So what I think we need to see here is that Reformed Theology ever after has wrestled with how many conditions are there to the Covenant of Grace. You’ll find some reformed orthodox theologians saying there are no conditions because conditionality means that you have to do something and God does it all. You’ll have some saying that there is only one, like our Larger Catechism does. It says faith is the only condition, but then it goes on and says that God requires other things. It doesn’t use the word condition but it says they are requirements, which is a kind of subtle way of saying there are other aspects of conditionality. And you find many reformed theologians like Bullinger and yes, like John Calvin, who said that there are two conditions to the Covenant of Grace. It’s faith and obedience. Recognizing, as we have already noted, that obedience is always a subordinate righteousness because law has been conquered by grace and empowered by grace, all through the saving work of Christ as Prophet, Priest and King.
TT: Is that something like the hymn ....
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[Start of Tape four, side 2]
TT: If I were to ask this question, would you say, I just finished answering it or would you like to say it again perhaps in other words? What then do you understand the author to mean by saying that these good works are a required condition that is, if we would stand in the Day of Judgment?
PL: I think I would just say simply this, by required you could understand merit, you could understand self-effort; by condition, you could understand, having to fulfill something, to meet someone’s expectations. But if we’ve looked properly at the whole notion of God’s redemptive grace and requirements, as we’ve noted in the catechism, these are things that God is, in fact, doing for us and in us. Augustine long ago had a remarkable statement. He said, God requires of us to be His people. He requires of us faith. He requires of us to walk with God. And then He crowns His own gifts. He gives us those and then he rewards us for doing it with the very thing that we are called to do.
So we’ve received grace upon grace, is what John the Evangelist says in the New Testament. They are required conditions. Faith is a required condition but faith is a gift of God. We are required to use the means of grace, to use prayer, to have new obedience, to have repentance - according to our own catechism - but there is no merit in any of that. That is - all of that is a gift of God’s grace. So we can understand in the Reformed system required conditions as God giving us what we are required. Like Augustine’s prayer, Lord, Give what thou desirest and command what thou wills.
TT: If the good works are supplied by God to all His people, as the author avers, should he be understood as teaching that they are meritorious?
PL: Again, I would say, in the judgment of Christian charity, that does not seem to me to be fair. That would be a position of arguing that you cannot interpret those statements within light of the Reformed history, the Reformed Confession, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the historic understanding of our church. And it would be, I fear, a movement in the direction of trying to reduce our covenantal theology to a justification alone paradigm, which I think is incomplete.
TT: The second portion of the selected sentences from the internet are these,
Every description of the Judgement events speaks of these good works. Without them, no one will see God. Our God is not unjust. His judgments are always righteous and in accordance with the facts of the case. On the past two Lord’s Days I shared over 25 texts and passages of Scripture with my Sunday School class on just these two concepts. They were about evenly divided between the concept that our God’s judgments are always righteous and in accord with the facts of the case and the concept that the final judgment will be in accord with what we have done in this life.
Again, fearful that we might be accused of providing an echo: Are we confronted here with the teaching of justification by works, in that works form either the instrument or ground of the justification?
PL: I don’t believe so because I’ve already noted that the distinction between according to, by, and on are different nuances of great import. We recognize that works are something that we are to fulfill according to the very nature of God. Maybe another way to get at this question, to understand it, might be to use a concept that I appreciate that I found from Calvin. And if you were to look at two texts of Scripture, you don’t have to turn to them, but in Psalms 19:7 we find this remarkable statement, The law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Here we see the law actually redemptive in character, regenerating. And yet you come to the New Testament and you’ll find a Pauline passage such as II Corthinians chapter three that says the law slays us. That it is a ministry of darkness. And Calvin, in one of his marvelous passages says, how do we bring the Bible together - where David says the law is perfect, gives life to the soul, and then we come to other passages where it seems to say the law is that which kills us? And he makes a fascinating distinction, he says we must recognize that the law can be understood in its broad sense, or in its narrow sense. In its narrow sense, Calvin says, it’s the law that is brought to us as the absolute demander of perfect obedience. What law would mean for Luther - the Law/Gospel distinction. The law in its narrow sense is the law that demands everything and gives nothing and if you don’t meet it, you’re dead - spiritually lost. Calvin says, however, the law in the broad sense, includes Christ, because the law reflects his nature, reflects his longing, reflects his redeeming work, reflects his sacrifices, reflects his sovereign purpose to have a people that will be holy unto Himself. And he says, in the law in its broad sense we can delight with David and say, The law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul. Because that’s the law that’s written on our heart in our salvation. It’s given to us. But the pharisaical sense, the law is a demand that we must keep, it can only kills us and it is destructive.
So the question that we would want to ask of Mr. Kinnaird at this point as he reads these texts, is he telling us that the law in its narrow sense is what we must have before God if we’ll be right? If he is, then he’s saying that which no man can keep. And I would say that is a heresy. If he’s saying, with Calvin, that the law in the broad sense is that the Holy Spirit has been given by Christ, changing our nature, writing the very will of God upon our heart and beginning to conform us to it, in the new obedience that’s required of us in the covenant life, then we can say, Amen. That’s what Christ wants us to be.
TT: In Matthew 16:27 Jesus declares, For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of His Father and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Is this statement, The final judgment will be in accord with what we have done in this life, itself in accord with Jesus’s words?
PL: I think it is. I think we hear ... see the language that we are ultimately going to be conformed to His image. It’s what John seems to say, when we see Him, we will be like him, for we will see Him as He is. It is a renewing certainty that when we see Christ, he will change us into His glory. We will be conformed to His image. That is not works righteousness. That is glorification in its fulness. And so in that sense, maybe it would be useful, for me just to point out this process of change? I’d like to go back to the Confession for a moment. If we’d turn in the hymnal to page 855, I think it is. I’m looking at Westminster Confession of Faith, 11:5. You’ll recognize that that’s the chapter on justification. I don’t think we’ve appealed particularly to this passage. Page 855, Chapter eleven, paragraph 5, it says:
God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified;
So while justification is an act, the benefits of justification is a process. We continue to be forgiven even though we’re declared righteous. Once and for all we’ve had the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, but we continue to need that regularly. I think it would be very impossible for any of us to say we’ve not sinned today in this trial, in our attitudes, in our thoughts, if not with our words and deeds. And we need to say, Lord forgive me. My attitude is wrong here. I’ve had the wrong approach to things. So while justification is an act - an imputation is complete - the experience and benefit of it is a process. He continues to forgive the sins of those that are justified
.. and, although they can never fall from the state of justification .. .
Because it’s an act. We are in a state that is immutable in character. Yet because there is a continuing benefit, ... they may ... - That is us. -... by our sins fall under God’s Fatherly displeasure. When you were justified, a criminal Judge, an angry God, declared us righteous. He adopted us and brought us to family court and said, Now in My family, you need to learn to live by My law, by my household rules. And in this Fatherly displeasure, it says that as we have fallen under by our sin, we may
not have the light of his countenance restored unto them,
That is we may lose the smile of the Father’s favor. Until we humble ourselves, confess our sins, beg pardon, and notice this, and renew their faith and repentance.
I would like to argue that the debate that is happening here is that those who are bringing the charges are insisting that all of our theology just be done in the first paragraph of chapter eleven. And I think Mr. Kinnaird, and I speaking with him, are saying that our theology must affirm - with an hallelujah chorus - paragraph one, but go on to say, that with paragraph two, that we are being changed by the Holy Spirit in this justification process because it is inseparably connected with our sanctification. So much so that forgiveness is an on-going daily reality of a process that flows out of an accomplished act. So that I have to continue to come back to the Father in my own confessing, my own humbling, my own seeking His Fatherly favor, and even renewing my faith - which was once and for all accomplished in justification - that was a saving faith, yet I need to renew it. And my repentance that was accomplished is continuing forward. Now, therefore, I would argue that we need to look at justification both as an accomplished act and an on-going experience that we benefit from and learn of and grow in, until finally it’s completed. So there is a real sense that the sanctification process and justification are intersecting far more closely than we typically define. And certainly in a way that would have been inconsistent with an absolute, forensic justification, one time act alone. There’s the sense of the Fatherly favor of the child, learning to love the Father, being forgiven, being advanced knowing His benefits. Daily forgiveness is what we can call that.
TT: In II Corinthians 5:10 the apostle says, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Is the statement, The final judgment will be in accord with what we have done in this life, a fair rephrasing of Paul’s words?
PL: Again, I would think it’s very close to the same intent. And perhaps I just want to ground our discussion again in the Confession so that we can see the breadth of our Confession’s understanding. Take a look at page 859, chapter 19, a very lengthy paragraph 6, where it talks about the blessings of the law - the law in its continued good in the Christian’s life. In this particular passage we are being reminded that we are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. We are going to be told what we’ve done is good or bad. There is a final judgment that is coming. How does that work out in our lives? Well, this chapter helps us understand some of that. It says,
Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works,
To use Calvin’s language, we are not under the covenant in the narrow sense or the law in the narrow sense. To be thereby justified, or condemned ... That is before God as a holy God - saved or lost? Yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others ...
So while we are no longer looking for justification in the law. We can’t do that. It’s lost. But Christ has met that need. But the law is still a part of the Christian life. And in this way,
Yet it is of great use to them; as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly;
So the law becomes now the basis of our Christian life underneath our justification. It
discovers also the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and lives; so that, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin,
So the law continues to point out our sin as well as an obligation to live for God.
... together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience.
The law calls us to be like Jesus. The law now is pointing us to Christ-likeness.
It is likewise of use to the regenerate, in restraining their corruptions,
That continues to deal with our fallen nature.
in that it forbids sin: and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law.
Now what I want you to hear, finally - and this is important - our Confession tells us that the promises of the law are still in force for the Christian. Now that’s powerful. It’s not that the law, like Luther says, the teeth of the law have been dashed out. That the height of Christian wisdom is to be ignorant of the law. Our Confession tells us, once we move beyond justification, in that sense of that forensic act received by faith alone, that we see the living power of the law and its promises, still at work in our lives.
The promises of the law, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof;
That there is a promise to those who seek God’s law. We can expect that promise to be kept for us as we walk as a Christian.
Although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works.
No, it’s not by merit. No, it’s not our obliging God to do something to us that we deserve. No, it’s a gift. But yet it is a real promise of grace.
So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and , not under grace.
I thought I heard someone say that if you take the law seriously in the way you relate to the Lord, that you’re under the law and not under grace. This says, no. You are under the promises of God and your pursuing the law to please Him and that doesn’t show you’re under the law, but shows the delight you have being under grace. Because in the Reformed system, it’s not the Law/Gospel distinction, rather it’s the Law in Grace system. Calvin will call it the Letter/Spirit distinction whereas once the Law destroyed us in its power to condemn. By the Holy Spirit, it now becomes a gracious gift that the Holy Spirit uses: having been forgiven, giving us a call to daily forgiveness, daily repentance, daily sanctification and yes, even expecting the promise of the law to be given in grace. As a covenant of works? No. No, as a gift of grace because the Father is saying, Well done thou good and faithful servant - in My grace.
TT: I think we only have about thirty seconds left. So if that’s correct...
Winward: You have two more questions?
TT: Yes, two more questions and a summary question. Shall I do them?
TT: Try to, if you possibly can, answer them, just as succinctly as possible.
PL: All right.
TT: Which is not a criticism of what you have done so far ...
The selected languages, Who are these people who thus benefit, who stand on the Day of Judgment? They are those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
Two questions. First, does this say anything more than that those who are included in the class of people who stand in the Day of Judgment are also included in the class of people who obey the law?
PL: I would say that’s what it’s saying.
TT: Secondly, is there any teaching here that those who stand on the Day of Judgment stand there on the basis of, and because they have obeyed the law?
PL: As a broken record, I could say: you could read it that way. If you read it in a non-Reformed and non-covenantal manner. But I would say if we read this in the context of someone who upholds the Westminster Confession, who affirms justification by faith alone, and who affirms the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Reformed heritage, that would be uncharitable to read those ideas into that statement.
TT: Finally, a summary question.
TT: When these specifications, all of them, are viewed through the eyes of men whose intellect and heart are informed by Holy Scripture and by the Reformed faith as set forth in the Westminster Standards, in your opinion, do they support the charge?
TT: Thank you.
John Kinnaird: Mr. Moderator?
Winward: Mr. Kinnaird.
JK: [inaudible due to his standing away from the microphone]
Winward: I think at this point we were going to move to cross-examination.
JK: Mr. Wilkening raised something to my attention that I would like to apologize for. For thirty seconds.
Winward: Very well.
JK: [Stepping up to the microphone.] Mr. Wilkening reported an email in which I apparently said that the real and personal righteous nature that I would possess on the Day of Judgment was due to sanctification alone. I’m assuming that that’s a correct report. I don’t have the email here with me. But .... that ... If I said that statement - and I probably did - perhaps you could excuse it by saying it was a sloppy internet statement. But, more important, I want to say it was definitely a false statement. In my teaching, I generally try very carefully to say that this righteousness, is the result of sanctification plus glorification. In fact, in my teaching I generally relate sanctification as often subsumed under the general concept of glorification, as in Romans 8:30. Those he predestined, he also called, those he called, he also justified, those he justified, he also glorified. You’ll notice in that verse there is no talk whatsoever of sanctification. And I believe its because, in general the subject of sanctification is subsumed under the concept of glorification. So if I said that I ever hoped to have a righteousness due to sanctification alone, that was a false statement, and I apologize for it. It’s sanctification plus glorification.
Winward: O.K. Thank you. Cross-examination. Mr. Kuschke, we had allowed ten minutes per specification, but we’ve heard all the specifications, I would say, the Moderator would grant you thirty minutes in total to address all the specifications.
Arthur Kuschke: Mr. Moderator, I wouldn’t need that time. Maybe there would be a few others who would like to ...
Winward: No. We limit it to you.
AK: One person?
Wilkening: One person.
AK: I would then like to direct, Mr. Moderator, if I may some questions to Dr. Lillback.
AK: You said, I believe, that the justification alone paradigm is incomplete. Now in that event, what of Romans 3:28, Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by the works of the .... (chuckles) ... justified by faith without the works of the law?
PL: Well, I think it would be similar to what we do when you say, Whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I give you. That when we look at prayer theology we recognize the classic line of text, without a context, is a pretext. So the Biblical theology is informed by itself. In much the same way the Confession of Faith says that the Holy Spirit speaking through Scripture makes the Bible its own interpreter. And so, I think, we have to look at that one text and say it’s absolutely true, but it is incomplete, because it’s one text of Scripture. One text of Scripture does not give us - what I’ve heard you often say through the years - the system of doctrine contained in Scripture. We do not find the full system there. We find a small portion of a wonderful truth, and that to build it only on that text, would be the same sort of incompleteness that we would say: well, if you ask anything in Jesus name, He’ll answer that prayer. No, we need to ask a text like ... We need to ask according to His will ... Do we ask with sin repented of in our heart and other things that have to do with the full theology of Biblical teaching.
AK: Dr. Lillback, you said that the work of the Spirit continues the work of salvation. Does it continue the work of justification?
PL: Only in the sense if you define justification as our Confession does. It’s clear that justification is an act. We’re declared righteous by faith alone. The unique instrumentality. It’s on the ground of Christ alone. It’s full accomplishment of our standing with the Lord. But as I noted there, the two other paragraphs therein that note that its never alone. It’s accompanied by other saving graces and that brings us to the fifth paragraph that says, >while we are justified, forgiveness, which is an experience of justification, is continuing and on-going. So that while the act is accomplished immutably so, irrevocably so ....immutably so, nevertheless the experience is an on-going reality through time until we are fully glorified in heaven. So, yes, I would say justification is complete; but the experience thereof is a growing experience because we continue to need its forgiveness. And I think that is the point of the Confession in 11:5.
AK: Do you not blend the Westminster Confession doctrine of justification by faith alone with sanctification and obedience?
PL: Only to the extent that the Confession sees them as inseparably connected. I like the fourfold rubric that I shared from Calvin. These are his words, not mine, that justification and sanctification are the dual benefits of the Covenant of Grace. They both are gracious. They are distinguishable. Therefore, by blending if it means confusing. I would never want to confuse them. They are very different. If we mean, are simultaneously given, because the Christ of salvation gives us the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit brings us to Christ? I would say, yes. They are simultaneous. But I would want to say that they are inseparable. Yes, because Christ is both Lord and Savior. He’s Prophet, Priest, and King. The Covenant of Grace cannot be divided into pieces. But I would clearly want to make foundational the justifying righteousness of Christ. It’s the foundation Calvin will say, it’s the foundation out of which all the other benefits will build. So our work, our experience of holiness, our change, our growth in Christ in the Holy Spirit - that life is founded upon the finished work of Christ and the declaration of righteousness that’s imputed to us through justifying faith. So I don’t think that’s blending. I think its making inseparable. I think it’s connecting. I think its making it simultaneous, but its clearly logically ordering them and distinguishing them.
AK: You speak of an actual justification at the end time. Do the Westminster Standards ever use the word, justified or the words, declared righteous, as descriptive of God’s decision at the Judgment?
PL: I think it uses the word, acquitted, which I would say is in the semantic range of meaning, means the same sort of thing.
AK: Could it not ... more ... Does it not really mean acquitted in the sense that God recognizes the justification which has taken place?
PL: It certainly includes that.
AK: That’s all I have, Mr. Moderator. Thank you, Dr. Lillback.
PL: Thank you.
Winward: Mr. Tyson, any re-direct?
TT: No. Mr. Moderator?