Why does faith in the promise cause us to be counted righteous by God?

Some people find the idea that we are counted righteous by God through believing his promise (Genesis 15:6) difficult to accept. Why should we be thought righteous for believing?

  1. We don’t have to prove how it works. Christianity is a revealed religion, not a derived religion. That means we think we know this because it has been revealed, not because we figured it out. In that case, so long as the view isn’t incoherent, and the revelation source is trustworthy, then you are warranted to believe something even if you can’t prove, or even explain it.
  2. Faith is the right ground to credit righteousness because it is the first step in being reoriented toward reality and what is good and just, which is embodies in God. Without faith in the true God, then no set of works can rightly orient a person towards reality- moral or otherwise. Without that reality reorienting faith, righteousness is implicitly refused. With faith, by accepting God’s righteousness, God opens us to be credited righteousness and as a vessel in which to develop that righteousness through faith.
  3. That’s not the point of this doctrine. The dynamic of promise-faith as the dynamic through which we are made right with God is not what MAKES it work. It works because of other supporting and related truths- imputation, union with Christ and others.
  4. How does it work? 2 options:
    1. Use of debt metaphor. When people think of having righteousness credited to a criminal, they often struggle with the idea of a substitute sacrifice. Why is a criminal righteous because an innocent person took their punishment? But it depends on what metaphor of justice you use- criminal or civil. In civil cases, all crimes can be reduced to property and debt since all crime takes something from the person and the community. Justice requires the restoration of what was damaged or destroyed. That debt has to be paid by some kind of restitution. Sin is commonly treated as a kind of moral debt which is paid by Christ’s sacrifice.
    2. Union with Christ. Another way to think about it is that through faith God offers union with himself, namely in the person of Christ. The union of Christ with a believer goes all the way down to being and identity, and the one becomes part with the other- though the metaphysics of that is never explained in detail. This means that the moral status of both are shared. This means that the believing human truly shares in the righteousness of Christ, and is counted righteous “in Him”.

It’s important not to pretend we know more than we do. And it is also important to make clear when we are speculating and when we are explaining something scripture clearly tells us.

Spirituality on Tap

Everyone laments that we don’t talk to people different than ourselves and that it’s killing our culture, and then almost nobody does it. This annoys me – not just that people are hypocritical about this, but because I am too. Recently I’ve gotten together with three “progressive” Christian clergy to do something called theology pub or spirituality on tap. Essentially the concept is from the emergent movement, but is simple enough. Some people don’t like coming to churches or being on religious people’s home turf. However, this doesn’t mean they are shallow and don’t like talking about spirituality, God, morality, meaning and so on. So, you take the conversations about those things to their turf and of course that means going to a pub/bar.

Continue reading Spirituality on Tap

Christian views on creation – looking into your scientific questions

Here are some resources you might want to look at in relationship to questions arising from the first chapters of Genesis:

Scientific Perspectives on Genesis 1-3:


Scientific Perspectives on Genesis 1-3 Q and A:

http://www.bethinking.org/science-christianity/advanced/qa-for-scientific-perspectives-on-genesis-1-3.htm www.bethinking.org is a good website to look for Science and Faith issues. Continue reading Christian views on creation – looking into your scientific questions

The Gospel through the Bible

Most Christians are okay with not really understanding how the different books of the Bible fit together. But it really is a big problem. To miss it can end up being to miss the gospel, or to radically change it in extremely unhelpful ways. Recently someone in my church gave me the bookThe First Idiot in Heaven
The First Idiot in Heaven. The basic premise of the book is that only Paul’s 13 epistles are really for non-Jewish Christians, Paul preaches a gospel of absolutely pure grace, and that leads to ultimate reconciliation for everyone – ultimate universalism. I don’t think that misrepresents book, though I didn’t read very much of it – 50 pages or so.

Continue reading The Gospel through the Bible

What’s next: The Gospel Through The Bible

No doubt many people in ministries and leading small groups are wondering what’s coming next after missions month. For several months we have been planning to do a series called, “The Gospel Through The Bible.” The point of this series is twofold:

  1. We want people to understand how to put their Bibles together.
  2. We want people to see Jesus and the gospel in all of Scripture, which will also help us accomplish #1.

Continue reading What’s next: The Gospel Through The Bible

Leading a Discussion on Genesis 1

Are you ready to lead a discussion on Genesis 1? The answer to that question should depend on your goals. If you are prepared to integrate the best scientific knowledge concerning origins and the best biblical interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, please come teach at my house. I have been studying that myself for more than a decade and only sort of now feel like I have a basic knowledge that might be able to keep me from immediately embarrassing myself. But, the meaning and purpose of Genesis 1 in the unfolding revelation of God in the Scriptures is not particularly difficult.

Here are some suggestions for the discussion:
Continue reading Leading a Discussion on Genesis 1

High Point Church Leadership Development Blog