God's Righteousness and The Judgment

dberrie2020

Well-known member
If--as some Lutherans maintain--God imputes His righteousness to those who have faith in Him--then why does the Savior and His apostles-- testify all will be judged in accordance with their own works--after death--and that for life or damnation?

John 5:28-29---King James Version
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

2 Corinthians 5:10---King James Version (KJV)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

1 Peter 1:16-17---King James Version (KJV)

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Romans 2:5-11----King James Version (KJV)
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Matthew 16:27---King James Version

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
 

Bonnie

Super Member
If--as some Lutherans maintain--God imputes His righteousness to those who have faith in Him--then why does the Savior and His apostles-- testify all will be judged in accordance with their own works--after death--and that for life or damnation?

John 5:28-29---King James Version
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

2 Corinthians 5:10---King James Version (KJV)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

1 Peter 1:16-17---King James Version (KJV)

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Romans 2:5-11----King James Version (KJV)
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Matthew 16:27---King James Version

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
"For we are God's workmanship, created IN Christ Jesus for doing good works, which He has prepared in advance to do, so that we may walk in them."

John 5:
24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

Will Jesus be judging deeds we have done IN FAITH or OUTSIDE of faith in HIM? Who is the AUTHOR and PERFECTOR of our faith? Our works? OR Jesus Christ?
 

dberrie2020

Well-known member
"For we are God's workmanship, created IN Christ Jesus for doing good works, which He has prepared in advance to do, so that we may walk in them."

And how are you relating that to the testimony of the Savior--testifying all men will be judged according to works--after death--and that for life or damnation?

John 5:28-29---King James Version
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Bonnie--that defies Lutheran theology--period.
 

Bonnie

Super Member
And how are you relating that to the testimony of the Savior--testifying all men will be judged according to works--after death--and that for life or damnation?

John 5:28-29---King James Version
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Bonnie--that defies Lutheran theology--period.
And how are you relating that to the testimony of the Savior--testifying all men will be judged according to works--after death--and that for life or damnation?

John 5:28-29---King James Version
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Bonnie--that defies Lutheran theology--period.
Who is the AUTHOR and PEFECTER of our faith--us, or God? In Whom do we DO good works?

"For we are GOD'S WORKMANSHIP, created IN Christ Jesus FOR good works, which He has prepared us in advance to do, so that we may walk in them."
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nic

dberrie2020

Well-known member
Who is the AUTHOR and PEFECTER of our faith--us, or God? In Whom do we DO good works?

"For we are GOD'S WORKMANSHIP, created IN Christ Jesus FOR good works, which He has prepared us in advance to do, so that we may walk in them."
No one has denied any of that.

My question to you is twofold:

1) How are you relating that to the testimony of Jesus Christ--that all men will be judged according to their works--after death--and that for life or damnation?

2) How do you fit that testimony into Lutheran theology?
 

rakovsky

Active member
The thread is referring to the Lutheran theory of "imputed" righteousness.

To "Impute" means to "represent (something, especially something undesirable) as being done, caused, or possessed by someone; attribute." (SOURCE: Oxford Languages)

My understanding is that the Lutheran idea is that God does not actually make a person righteous, he only "counts" then or "represents" them as righteous.

The Orthodox Church in America website introduces the topic this way:
A Roman Catholic friend (and a good theologian) recently asked me whether the Greek Fathers of the Church understand the term “righteousness” in a forensic sense. He was referring to a Protestant doctrine that holds that God does not “make” us righteous; He “declares” or “counts” us righteous. That is, God imputes righteousness to us, while we remain in a state of sinfulness. Simul iustus et peccator, Luther would say: at once justified and sinful. Reading, for example, St Paul’s letter to the Romans, my friend asked, do the Eastern Fathers also read the notion of “righteousness” forensically? Well no, I thought. But then I had to formulate something of the reason why. After a lot of stumbling, this is what I passed on to him.

The Protestant notion of “imputation,” (as I understand it) grew out of the conviction that we are inherently (by nature) incapable of making ourselves righteous; we cannot become truly just on the basis of our own good deeds or merits. Insofar as the qualities of justice and righteousness are attributable to us, we should understand that God imputes them to us as an expression of His mercy. This God does so that we can re-enter the realm of His righteousness, His holiness, and thus be saved from the consequences of sin, which is (eternal) death. This interpretation, however, as many people have pointed out, means that our righteousness is little more than a legal fiction. God treats us as if we were just or righteous, although He (like us) knows full well that we are not.[1]
It then goes on to explain how the Orthodox position differs.
 

Tertiumquid

Active member
My understanding is that the Lutheran idea is that God does not actually make a person righteous, he only "counts" then or "represents" them as righteous.
There is a tendency in some Lutheran circles to emphasize justification over sanctification (I would not necessarily see this as a bad thing) to the extent that an almost antinomian misunderstanding like yours occurs. However: Lutherans do have a theology of sanctification as well. Rev. Jordan Cooper has a helpful overview here and here. See also Concordia's publication, Friends of the Law.
 

rakovsky

Active member
There is a tendency in some Lutheran circles to emphasize justification over sanctification (I would not necessarily see this as a bad thing) to the extent that an almost antinomian misunderstanding like yours occurs. However: Lutherans do have a theology of sanctification as well. Rev. Jordan Cooper has a helpful overview here and here. See also Concordia's publication, Friends of the Law.
Thanks for sharing.
What I read in Wikipedia was that classical Lutheranism teaches only Imputed (kind of like symbolic) Righteousness, because classical Lutheranism theorized that humans themselves were incapable of any good, in contrast to EO and maybe RC views on the topic. With the EO and RC theology, righteousness is not only "imputed" to people, they actually can have it.
 

Tertiumquid

Active member
Thanks for sharing.
What I read in Wikipedia was that classical Lutheranism teaches only Imputed (kind of like symbolic) Righteousness, because classical Lutheranism theorized that humans themselves were incapable of any good, in contrast to EO and maybe RC views on the topic. With the EO and RC theology, righteousness is not only "imputed" to people, they actually can have it.
I'm not fond of Wikipedia (Wiki has even cited or referred to me from time to time over the years). Since Lutherans are confessional, I would stick with the Book of Concord.
 

Nic

Active member
The thread is referring to the Lutheran theory of "imputed" righteousness.

To "Impute" means to "represent (something, especially something undesirable) as being done, caused, or possessed by someone; attribute." (SOURCE: Oxford Languages)

My understanding is that the Lutheran idea is that God does not actually make a person righteous, he only "counts" then or "represents" them as righteous.

The Orthodox Church in America website introduces the topic this way:

It then goes on to explain how the Orthodox position differs.
Imputation is a two-way street if your view of Lutheran theology asserts God doesn't makes us righteous then likewise you must conclude God doesn't take our sin upon himself. Neither of which is Lutheran theology.
 

Bonnie

Super Member
Imputation is a two-way street if your view of Lutheran theology asserts God doesn't makes us righteous then likewise you must conclude God doesn't take our sin upon himself. Neither of which is Lutheran theology.
On the cross, Jesus exchanged HIS righteousness for our sin--what an exchange! :)
 

rakovsky

Active member
Imputation is a two-way street if your view of Lutheran theology asserts God doesn't makes us righteous then likewise you must conclude God doesn't take our sin upon himself. Neither of which is Lutheran theology.
I suppose that apologists for "Imputed-only Righteousness" theory could respond to you that in their theory, God does take away our sin so that we are sinless or "sin = 0", but as far as us becoming positively "good" or "righteous", God only "counts" or "imputes" that Goodness to us. But I think that you are pointing to a significant argument - if God could actually take our sin away, then He could actually put us in a state where we could achieve righteousness.

A key issue here is that as I understand classical Lutheranism, it argues something along the idea that Man cannot directly perform anything "Good", and that any Goodness or Good that a Man performs comes from God alone. It's not just that sinful people can't do Good, but even the saved cannot themselves do Good, as it purely comes from God. This is related to the Lutheran idea of Monergism that came up in ecumenical discussions between Lutherans and EOs. The Lutherans in the dialogue were holding to Monergism, whereas EOs were holding to Synergism, that a person's saved status includes the person not just believing or receiving God's goodness, but also performing righteous acts in a way that can be distinguished as that person's own acts and not solely the acts of God alone without the saved Man's co-operation.
reason_luther600.jpg


I personally have a soft spot for Lutheranism, being baptized Lutheran, but it comes across as dogmatic or at least axiomatic on some issues like these that I don't really agree with. To me, it makes sense that in terms of believing in Jesus or coming to Jesus that there would be a "two way street", to use your expression- the Holy Spirit would call the person, but the person's reason also accepts that call and follows it.
 

Nic

Active member
I suppose that apologists for "Imputed-only Righteousness" theory could respond to you that in their theory, God does take away our sin so that we are sinless or "sin = 0", but as far as us becoming positively "good" or "righteous", God only "counts" or "imputes" that Goodness to us. But I think that you are pointing to a significant argument - if God could actually take our sin away, then He could actually put us in a state where we could achieve righteousness.

A key issue here is that as I understand classical Lutheranism, it argues something along the idea that Man cannot directly perform anything "Good", and that any Goodness or Good that a Man performs comes from God alone. It's not just that sinful people can't do Good, but even the saved cannot themselves do Good, as it purely comes from God. This is related to the Lutheran idea of Monergism that came up in ecumenical discussions between Lutherans and EOs. The Lutherans in the dialogue were holding to Monergism, whereas EOs were holding to Synergism, that a person's saved status includes the person not just believing or receiving God's goodness, but also performing righteous acts in a way that can be distinguished as that person's own acts and not solely the acts of God alone without the saved Man's co-operation.
reason_luther600.jpg


I personally have a soft spot for Lutheranism, being baptized Lutheran, but it comes across as dogmatic or at least axiomatic on some issues like these that I don't really agree with. To me, it makes sense that in terms of believing in Jesus or coming to Jesus that there would be a "two way street", to use your expression- the Holy Spirit would call the person, but the person's reason also accepts that call and follows it.
A comment. When God declares something does it not happen? Which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven or take up the mat and walk? What about declaring let there be light, was this not so? Why then, as it seems to accord with your misunderstanding of Lutheran theology, does a man being declared righteous, is a man still unjust or guilty?🤔
Thanks for your reply.
p.s. Lutherans simultaneous teach men do also become sanctified [holy, theosis] as they continue their journey in repentance and faith.
Nic:)
 

Nic

Active member
I suppose that apologists for "Imputed-only Righteousness" theory could respond to you that in their theory, God does take away our sin so that we are sinless or "sin = 0", but as far as us becoming positively "good" or "righteous", God only "counts" or "imputes" that Goodness to us. But I think that you are pointing to a significant argument - if God could actually take our sin away, then He could actually put us in a state where we could achieve righteousness.

A key issue here is that as I understand classical Lutheranism, it argues something along the idea that Man cannot directly perform anything "Good", and that any Goodness or Good that a Man performs comes from God alone. It's not just that sinful people can't do Good, but even the saved cannot themselves do Good, as it purely comes from God. This is related to the Lutheran idea of Monergism that came up in ecumenical discussions between Lutherans and EOs. The Lutherans in the dialogue were holding to Monergism, whereas EOs were holding to Synergism, that a person's saved status includes the person not just believing or receiving God's goodness, but also performing righteous acts in a way that can be distinguished as that person's own acts and not solely the acts of God alone without the saved Man's co-operation.
reason_luther600.jpg


I personally have a soft spot for Lutheranism, being baptized Lutheran, but it comes across as dogmatic or at least axiomatic on some issues like these that I don't really agree with. To me, it makes sense that in terms of believing in Jesus or coming to Jesus that there would be a "two way street", to use your expression- the Holy Spirit would call the person, but the person's reason also accepts that call and follows it.
An additional comment:
Your key issue is on point, without faith it is impossible to please God. And yes even my faith inspired deeds are riddled in sin. The key issue here is the freely given GIFT of FAITH.
Conversion: The Father calls, the Holy Spirit gives birth and the Savior Jesus saves. Saving is His office [job, responsibility]. None of this takes place apart from the message which saves to the uttermost. Or to put it another way, God uses a means of grace of the exact same message to save. But God alone does the saving, not you, not I nor anyone apart from Jesus alone or Jesus isn't the Savior.
Lutherans should be properly understood as strict monergists.
Furthering comment on the birth. How much work did you do on order to be born the first time? Why is being born from above a higher and most noble thing, dependent on you? It isn't according to Lutheran theology. Both are freely given gifts of life.
Nic🙂
 
Last edited:

rakovsky

Active member
How much work did you do on order to be born the first time? Why is being born from above a higher and most noble thing, dependent on you? It isn't according to Lutheran theology. Both are freely given gifts of life.
Nic🙂
First, having a successful birth does not depend solely on the mother but also on the child. The child, as distinct from the mother, needs to also grow and accept nourishment and fight illnesses, etc. A baby is not a purely passive or inanimate being. It is when the baby has grown enough that it's ready to come out.

Second, physical birth is probably inadequate as a full expression or analogy for spiritual birth. With physical birth, there is not really conscious thought and conscious choosing on the part of the baby, but in the case of the concept of faith and salvation, actions like accepting the word, believing, etc. are actions taken by the believer, so that both God and the believer act together in that process. It's not a purely passive event or else people would be like robots or corpses with no willpower or choice involved.

Like I said, I have a warm spot for Lutheranism, but some of its dogmas or axioms, however you want to phrase it, like the Monergism I don't agree with.

I see that people on the forum thread are denying that Righteousness is only "imputed" though according to Lutheranism. So I think it would take some work for me to figure out what the classical official Lutheran position actually is on this.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nic

Nic

Active member
First, having a successful birth does not depend solely on the mother but also on the child. The child, as distinct from the mother, needs to also grow and accept nourishment and fight illnesses, etc. A baby is not a purely passive or inanimate being. It is when the baby has grown enough that it's ready to come out.

Second, physical birth is probably inadequate as a full expression or analogy for spiritual birth. With physical birth, there is not really conscious thought and conscious choosing on the part of the baby, but in the case of the concept of faith and salvation, actions like accepting the word, believing, etc. are actions taken by the believer, so that both God and the believer act together in that process. It's not a purely passive event or else people would be like robots or corpses with no willpower or choice involved.

Like I said, I have a warm spot for Lutheranism, but some of its dogmas or axioms, however you want to phrase it, like the Monergism I don't agree with.

I see that people on the forum thread are denying that Righteousness is only "imputed" though according to Lutheranism. So I think it would take some work for me to figure out what the classical official Lutheran position actually is on this.
I only have a minute for now. Life begins at conception, so what work was required of you to be conceived to have this gift of life bestowed to you? Presumably you believe life is always gifted.
 

rakovsky

Active member
I only have a minute for now. Life begins at conception, so what work was required of you to be conceived to have this gift of life bestowed to you? Presumably you believe life is always gifted.
Yeah, I'm not sure how much energy I have for this either. I posted in a couple Lutheran threads because like I said, I have a warm spot for Lutheranism.

I would raise the same kinds of points that I did in my last message. First, the act of conception and God's creation or bestowal of a life doesn't seem a perfect analogy for the act of the salvation of a life that already exists. In the Christian idea, the Christian undergoes theosis or sanctification, becoming more like God, and he cooperates in this process such as in performing Christlike or Godlike acts.

Second, even in the act of conception or the creation of a life there are ways that others besides God act. In the act of conception, the parents procreate actively. If they hadn't procreated sexually, de facto the mother wouldn't be conceiving. You can say that the Creation of the Soul or the Bestowal of the Soul at Conception is ant act from God, not the parents. But like I said, it's not a perfect analogy.

The classic Creation idea has become that humans do not pre-exist their birth, but the Church's position might not have been clear in the first century. One of the Councils IIRC did reject the idea of humans pre-existing their birth. So whereas it might not make sense theologically for a "pre-existent" person to participate in their own creation since people don't pre-exist their conception, people do pre-exist their salvation, so that kind of obstacle of logic does not exist regarding salvation.
 

Nic

Active member
Yeah, I'm not sure how much energy I have for this either. I posted in a couple Lutheran threads because like I said, I have a warm spot for Lutheranism.

I would raise the same kinds of points that I did in my last message. First, the act of conception and God's creation or bestowal of a life doesn't seem a perfect analogy for the act of the salvation of a life that already exists. In the Christian idea, the Christian undergoes theosis or sanctification, becoming more like God, and he cooperates in this process such as in performing Christlike or Godlike acts.

Second, even in the act of conception or the creation of a life there are ways that others besides God act. In the act of conception, the parents procreate actively. If they hadn't procreated sexually, de facto the mother wouldn't be conceiving. You can say that the Creation of the Soul or the Bestowal of the Soul at Conception is ant act from God, not the parents. But like I said, it's not a perfect analogy.

The classic Creation idea has become that humans do not pre-exist their birth, but the Church's position might not have been clear in the first century. One of the Councils IIRC did reject the idea of humans pre-existing their birth. So whereas it might not make sense theologically for a "pre-existent" person to participate in their own creation since people don't pre-exist their conception, people do pre-exist their salvation, so that kind of obstacle of logic does not exist regarding salvation.
Fine. I won't burden you further.
Peace.
 

Nic

Active member
The discussions are not something bad. :)

Peace.
Rakovsky, I didn't say they were. You said you were already weary or some such that's where the word burden was chosen to describe your exchange with me. You have lots of presuppositions as we all do, driving a different starting point let alone outcome. So despite being 'baptized Lutheran and having a warm spot for them,' at least today, you don't understand Lutheran theology even though you possess some knowledge of the topic. As you say, not a bad thing. I only jumped in because you were so cordial. My time is very limited. I may have been too terse for you to realize my actual demeanor. Please don't leave the forum due to my crassness, I've been enjoying the exchanges. "Imputation only" is the real deal as far as being justified (that is proclaimed not guilty).
The sanctification/theosis I referenced also (aisi) is common to most Western Christianity, that is the church is called to holiness and Christ makes her holy. The distinction here is our salvation is NOT predicated on this holiness you and others insist. Mind you we are not denying we grow in holiness.
You would likely not believe me, but I and a few others both past and present have had 'warm spots' for the orthodox community. One Lutheran here came very close to converting but relented.

Nic🙂
 
Top