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Horton on Christ the Center concerning Union with Christ

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Recently Dr. Horton was invited on the Christ the Center podcast with the Reformed Forum to discuss "Union with Christ" in response to Dr. Lane Tipton. To read more click here.

To listen to the interview the audio is below:


[audio:http://media.reformedforum.org/assets/download/web/audio/ctc207.mp3|titles=Christ the Center|artists=Reformed Forum]
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  • Guest - Bill

    Let the Reformation stand united, let us not pit two saints against each other, let us not pitch Martin Luther vs. John Calvin. And let justification by grace through faith rule supreme. it is the chief article on which the christian faith stands or fails. And to prove that John Calvin considered justification by grace through faith the sole blessing of Union with Christ, the sole blessing of the christian faith, from which all other secondary blessings such as sanctification are derived I will quote him directly, let the man speak for himself and say it in his own words. Section 10 of Chapter 17 of Book 3 is where John Calvin admits that justification by grace through faith is core of the christian faith, the chief benefit we obtain in Christ, from where all other benefits are derived. Yes, John Calvin made one mistake, he should have written what he wrote in chapter 17 of Book 3 of the Institutes in chapter 1. Here's John Calvin in his own words, stating like Martin Luther that sanctification follows justification. Justification being the cause and justification, the effect. From the Institutes of the Christian Religion book 3, chapter 17, section 10:

    "10. In this way we can admit not only that there is a partial righteousness in works (as our adversaries maintain), but that they are approved by God as if they were absolutely perfect. If we remember on what foundation this is rested, every difficulty will be solved. The first time when a work begins to be acceptable is when it is received with pardon. And whence pardon, but just because God looks upon us and all that belongs to us as in Christ? Therefore, as we ourselves when ingrafted into Christ appear righteous before God, because our iniquities are covered with his innocence; so our works are, and are deemed righteous, because every thing otherwise defective in them being buried by the purity of Christ is not imputed. Thus we may justly say, that not only ourselves, but our works also, are justified by faith alone. Now, if that righteousness of works, whatever it be, depends on faith and free justification, and is produced by it, it ought to be included under it and, so to speak, made subordinate to it, as the effect to its cause; so far is it from being entitled to be set up to impair or destroy the doctrine of justification.44[9] Thus Paul, to prove that our blessedness depends not on our works, but on the mercy of God, makes special use of the words of David, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered;" "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity." Should any one here obtrude the numberless passages in which blessedness seems to be attributed to works, as, "Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord;" "He that has mercy on the poor, happy is he;" "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly," and "that endureth temptation;" "Blessed are they that keep judgment," that are "pure in heart," "meek," "merciful," &c.,45[0] they cannot make out that Paul's doctrine is not true. For seeing that the qualities thus extolled never all so exist in man as to obtain for him the approbation of God, it follows, that man is always miserable until he is exempted from misery by the pardon of his sins. Since, then, all the kinds of blessedness extolled in the Scripture are vain so that man derives no benefit from them until he obtains blessedness by the forgiveness of sins, a forgiveness which makes way for them, it follows that this is not only the chief and highest, but the only blessedness, unless you are prepared to maintain that it is impaired by things which owe their entire existence to it. There is much less to trouble us in the name of righteous which is usually given to believers. I admit that they are so called from the holiness of their lives, but as they rather exert themselves in the study of righteousness than fulfill righteousness itself, any degree of it which they possess must yield to justification by faith, to which it is owing that it is what it is."

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  • Guest - Bill

    To note in my post above where I wrote, "Justification being the cause and justification, the effect". It actually should have have been written "sanctification, the effect" instead.

    I also want to add section 1 of chapter 11 book 3 of Calvin's Institutes to support the thesis that for Calvin justification by grace through faith was the chief article of religionl as much as it was for Luther. Calvin summarizes in this section union with christ and its benefits, calling justification the principal ground on which religon is supported.

    Book 3 chapter 11 section 1 of the Institutes of the Christian Religion:

    “1. I TRUST I have now sufficiently shown how man’s only resource for escaping from the curse of the law, and recovering salvation, lies in faith; and also what the nature of faith is, what the benefits which it confers, and the fruits which it produces. The whole may be thus summed up: Christ given to us by the kindness of God is apprehended and possessed by faith, by means of which we obtain in particular a twofold benefit; first, being reconciled by the righteousness of Christ, God becomes, instead of a judge, an indulgent Father; and, secondly, being sanctified by his Spirit, we aspire to integrity and purity of life. This second benefit–viz. regeneration, appears to have been already sufficiently discussed. On the other hand, the subject of justification was discussed more cursorily, because it seemed of more consequence first to explain that the faith by which alone, through the mercy of God, we obtain free justification, is not destitute of good works; and also to show the true nature of these good works on which this question partly turns. The doctrine of Justification is now to be fully discussed, and discussed under the conviction, that as it is the principal ground on which religion must be supported, so it requires greater care and attention. For unless you understand first of all what your position is before God, and what the judgment which he passes upon you, you have no foundation on which your salvation can be laid, or on which piety towards God can be reared. The necessity of thoroughly understanding this subject will become more apparent as we proceed with it.” John Calvin

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