Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Affirmations and Denials; Articles XIII-XV

Here are the next three affirmations and denials from Together for the Gospel's document.

Article XIII
We affirm that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers by God’s decree alone, and that this righteousness, imputed to the believer through faith alone, is the only righteousness that justifies.

We deny that such righteousness is earned or deserved in any manner, is infused within the believer to any degree, or is realized in the believer through anything other than faith alone.

Article XIV
We affirm that the shape of Christian discipleship is congregational, and that God’s purpose is evident in faithful Gospel congregations, each displaying God’s glory in the marks of authentic ecclesiology.

We deny that any Christian can truly be a faithful disciple apart from the teaching, discipline, fellowship, and accountability of a congregation of fellow disciples, organized as a Gospel church. We further deny that the Lord’s Supper can faithfully be administered apart from the right practice of church discipline.

Article XV
We affirm that evangelical congregations are to work together in humble and voluntary cooperation and that the spiritual fellowship of Gospel congregations bears witness to the unity of the Church and the glory of God.

We deny that loyalty to any denomination or fellowship of churches can take precedence over the claims of truth and faithfulness to the Gospel.

Here's a quick commentary regarding Article XIII and Article IV:

XIII: The forensic/legal aspect of justification is a very important one that many just don't believe. As you can see in this series of comment posts I had recently at a friends blog that some folks don't believe that the "imputation" language of justification is what Paul meant by the word "justification". However, by the word "justification" Paul [and other Scripture passages] did mean imputation of righteousness to us (2 Cor 5:21; Ro 4:25; 5:18, etc.), and likewise the sin of believers to Him on the cross(1 Pet 2:24; Gal 3:13; etc.). This is the center of the gospel...indicating how Jesus achieved a propitiatory sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin.

XIV: This a strong motivator for the local church. Also, church membership. Do you belong to a church? Lindsey and I are currently looking. If you do belong to a church are you getting the "teaching, discipline, fellowship, and accountability of a congregation of fellow disciples" characteristic of a "gospel church"?

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