Saturday, May 16, 2009

Active and Passive Obedience: One Additional Thought

My earlier post was explanation, not defense. But one more point needs to be said by way of both defense and explanation.

Quite a few folks today say that they believe in the passive obedience of Christ (his penalty-bearing work) and in the active obedience of Christ (his will-of-God-obeying work) and in imputation (the reckoning of Christ's work to our account).

But they differ with the historically Reformed in how these three elements are put together.

They said things like, "I only see Scripture teaching that Christ's passive obedience is imputed, not his active obedience."

They also things like, "Such fine distinctions are owing more to systematic theology than to the authorial intent we're after in exegetical theology."

But here's the irony in it all. By arguing that it is only Christ's passive obedience that is imputed to our account, they are the ones making a distinction that can't be found in the biblical text.

The Reformed folks argue for both-and, not either-or. In the NT Christ's righteous work is of one cloth: it's always "obedience unto death." I suggest one cannot separate Christ's fulfillment of God's precepts from Christ's payment of the penalty for failing to obey God's precepts.

What God has joined together, let no man separate!

Update: You can explore the doctrine--defense and explanation--further at Mongerism's page on active and passive obedience.