Justification: an Event or a Process in Thomas Aquinas?

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Stalwart, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That's a straw man; I never said that Jesus' atonement was conditional. However, receipt of its benefits (justification included) is conditioned upon faith in Jesus.

    Yes, but this applies only to those who are not under the law. Who are those people? Christians.
    Gal_5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
    The law still continues to convince and convict people who are not born-again and spirit-led of their need for a Redeemer. Paul wrote about people who were still (at the time of the writing) under the law:
    Rom_3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
    Rom 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

    The law is still in place today, and anyone who is guilty of the smallest infraction is guilty of all. We are not back in Eden, with no knowledge of sin in the world, and that knowledge of sin comes through the action of the law.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 10:53 AM
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    A bit of follow-up to my previous post:

    2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
    (This is a tuLip killer... Christ didn't die only for the elect, but for all)
    2Co 5:15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
    2Co 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
    2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

    Notice that not all people have become new creations by His dying for all; only those who are "in Christ" are renewed in spirit.
    2Co 5:18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
    2Co 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
    2Co 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
    2Co 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    If all received justification by Christ's death and resurrection, independent of whether they believed in this or not, there would be no impetus for Paul to implore people to "be reconciled to God;" all people would already have God's righteousness bestowed upon them. Instead, we are appointed as Christ's ambassadors to vigorously urge unbelievers to be reconciled to God so that they might "become" the righteousness of God.

    The stark difference between believers and unbelievers is clearly stated in the next chapter:
    2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
    Unbelievers are lawless (that is, violators of the law) and in darkness. Thus we can see that justification has not yet touched and transformed them, even though it is readily available to be received by any who believe.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 12:12 PM
  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am not trying to attribute any statements to you. Just in general, being able to say that 'no one can be righteous in God's sight' automatically puts them in the camp of sola fide, or justification by faith.

    The Roman teaching says that one can stand to be righteous in God's sight.

    Right, yep. Exactly. On the point of faith, the only reason we believe it could let us be righteous in God's sight is because it's God's own righteousness imputed to us. As the saintly Lancelot Andrews ingeniously pointed out, the Old Testament teaches imputed righteousness, in Jeremiah 23:6:
    "And this is the Name whereby they shall call him, The Lord our Righteousness." Article
     
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  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Which is making atonement conditional and cutting out the heathen who have never heard the gospel because it has never yet been preached to them.

    No! Those people are not only Christians who have heard the law, know they have been disbedient to it and have taken refuge in Christ in response to the Gospel message. It also applies to anyone who has not ever been taught the law, never encoutered it, never known it. Paul was referring to Gentiles who were considered to be "separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." Rom.7:9. Those who do not have or know the law, have life. Paul says so. They only lose it when they know the law and disobey it. Then they have death. Rom.7:9.
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Christ made atonement unconditionally, such that any person might receive it. Therefore, atonement is unconditional.

    Yet not all people receive it. Reception is through belief in Christ. The reception of the atonement's benefits is not unconditional. (If it were, God would in effect be forcing salvation upon all people even if they didn't want it.)

    I hope you are able (and willing) to appreciate the distinction between the atonement (which is unconditional) and the effect upon an individual (which is conditional, for it depends upon the individual having faith).

    It seems a great leap of logic to suppose that the people Paul refers to in a letter to the Galatians can be certainly and accurately identified by Paul's letter to the Romans.
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Forget that I wrote this second part; I was confused, sorry. Let me back up and address that portion of your statement differently.

    You're referring to this?
    Rom 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

    Paul was schooled in all of the commandments. When did the commandment come into his life? Probably at a fairly early age, sometime in childhood when he was old enough to know right from wrong and that he was doing something wrong. At that point, "sin revived, and I died" in a spiritual sense. I take this as evidence that children prior to the age of reason are innocent and spiritually alive to God. (No doubt some here will disagree, as this interpretation does no favors for the doctrine of Original Sin.)

    Or are you referring to Ephesians?
    Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
    Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
    Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;


    I take note that it says the gentiles were "without hope and without God" prior to Christ. That does not seem to support the proposition that people who were never taught the Mosaic Law "have life," as you put it. What it's saying, really, is that Jews and Gentiles are now on an equal footing, in that they all are equally free (and equally beckoned) to accept Christ and be declared righteous.
     
  7. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    So we agree that Christ died for all while they were yet still sinners. Yes?

    This is the point we are in disagreement about, [to some limited extent]. Atonement and Salvation are related but not identical, interdependent but not simultaneously effective. Everyone is already atoned for by the blood of Christ. It was a historical event which affected the whole of mankind in the heavenly justice department, and on earth wherever the Gospel is preached, heard and responded to by any individual. Though an individual may have never encountered God's written law, God's law is already metaphorically written in their heart. They will have either obeyed their heart or ignored it's influence on their deeds, making them just or not as the case may be. Rom.2:15. God is reconciled with them through the death of Christ and their sins are no longer held against them because of God's atonement won for them by Christ in his death, which he substitutionally died in their stead. 2 Cor.5:14. However that does not yet afford Salvation for those that God no longer holds accountable for their sins. First they must be reconciled with the God that is already reconciled with them through the cross of Christ.

    Those who know God's Law, are under the Law and will be judged by the law, unless they are "In Christ".
    Those who have never known God's Law, because it was never given to them, are outside of the law and will not be judged by it, but will be judged by their own words and their own conscience, a much harsher judge than Jesus Christ. Luke 19:22.

    "we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you--be reconciled to God. For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins." 2 Cor.5:19-21.

    I think there is discipline and punishment in heaven for trangressions against the law of love, __ Luke 12:41-48, __ even though the sins of the world are no longer held aganst them by God and God is not anymore compelled to award eternal damnation as the only penalty for sin. God is not compelled by anyone or anything, particularly by any individual interpretations of what we might read in what He has revealed through His scriptures.

    Paul wrote both the letter to the Galatians and, later on, the letter to the Romans, and Paul was not in the habbit of contradicting himself. :laugh:
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    Last edited: May 5, 2021 at 4:03 AM
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me Paul here is referring to the time before he knew the Law. The time when he was yet a child, unschooled in God's ways and therefore excusable for any infringement against God's Law that he might inadvertently have committed. This would have put him in the same position as any lawless and uneducated gentile not conversant with God’s Law. When however he was taught God’s Law, he became subject to the possibility of disobedience and disobedience had a penalty, in some cases death, which would have potentially ended his ‘life’.

    The principle here, it seems to me, is that genuine ignorance of God's Law IS and excuse as far as God is concerned for those who are genuinely ignorant, but knowledge of God's Law brings death to anyone who then deliberately is disobedient to that knowledge and deliberately breaks God's Law.
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  9. Invictus

    Invictus Member

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    I freely confess to not understand the notion of limited atonement, and it isn’t from lack of trying.
     
  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    We may be straying into the grass of a different paddock here but I happen to believe that all infants are counted innocent of sin until they are conscious of doing it by having actually deliberately refused to resist the temptation. It does not take long however, foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, Prov.22:15, and foolishness is sin. Mark 7:22. We are judged by God entirely upon the sins we have committed, not on what either our fathers or children have done or shall do. Ezek.18:5-28.

    I do have my doubts about the way the doctrine of Original Sin is understood by some religious types though. It seems to me that some of them believe all human beings are born unspeakably corrupt with no good in them. Ps.51:5. But I think the psalmist is exaggerating and is speaking personally and not addressing the entire human race, in his negative and rather condemnatory view of his mother's contribution to his conception and birth. (He might have had a downer on women, (most did), a problem with self worth, (most did), or had some serious hangups in the sex and marriage department, (once again most did). It's most likey though, in my opinion that he is merely being poetically humble and not getting above himself vis. Ps.131:1-3.

    Orignal sin, in my opinion, (and I stand to be corrected perhaps), refers to human nature's inevitably fatal attraction to the foolishness of sin. It is bred in the bones. It goes right through us like the words in seaside rock. The seeds of rebellion against the reality which is God are there at the very point of conception and only the Grace of God, through The Holy Spirit, can deal with it affectively.

    That is why we all need a Saviour.

    If, as some teach and believe, we are all actually condemned and under sentence of death by God as a punishment, simply because Adam and Eve had sinned so long, long ago, where does that leave the prophet Exekiel's insight into God's system of justice?

    Was Ezekiel WRONG?
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    Last edited: May 5, 2021 at 12:34 PM
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