The Evangelical Universalist Forum

How does Jesus's resurrection make people righteous?


Chad, you are…what’s the word I’m looking for…ah yes…WRONG.
So wrong in fact that once again I’m stymied by your (wilful?) ignorance of plain old truth.
That’s what happens when a big -ism gets a-holt of some (not all, there are some -ism people that still keep an open mind) people. If it don’t fit the -ism, we don’t believe it. You big -ist, you.
And it is really cool because that’s what you accuse -ians of.


I don’t know why anyone would be offended at your words. There are millions who hold to the same view. However, without imputed righteousness we are not left without hope, because enabling grace has been made available to us through Christ’s sacrifice, and becoming righteous is a process. That sounds pretty hopeful to me! Please consider the following:

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)

How do we appropriate this enabling grace? We appropriate it through faith. Jesus died to provide this enabling grace, and by trusting Him to do so, it becomes a reality in our lives.

Many think “δικαιοσυνη,” The Greek word translated as “justification” to mean “being counted as righteous,” whether we are righteous or not. But the word often means “being made righteous.”

Working together [with Him], we entreat you not to accept the grace of God to no purpose. (2 Cor 6:1)

If we try to accept God’s grace in our lives without allowing it to purify us, to render us righteous, then we are accepting it to no purpose.

We must coöperate with God’s enabling grace. We alone cannot achieve consistent righteousness. And God alone will not cause us to be righteous. He respects our ablity to choose too much for that. We must coöperate with God’s enabling grace.

This coöperation with God is known as “synergy.” This English word comes from the Greek word “working together.” (συνεργουντες)

A particular group of denominations push “monergy.” This is the idea God did all the work concerning our righteousness, that we have no part in it at all. No wonder so many fall away, thinking that what they choose to do has no bearing on their standing with God.

However, I think the apostle Paul had it right. Concerning deliverance from wrongdoing, we need to work together with God, and so not to attempt accept the grace of God to no purpose.

As for Romans 7, Paul is not describing his own experience and inabilities to be righteous as many believe. He is using the “hypothetical I”; he is writing about a person struggling to obey God without the enabling grace of Christ, and how futile it is to so struggle. But note that in the last verse of ch 7 and the beginning of ch 8, Paul writes:

25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Without God’s enabling grace, the best I can do is serve God in my imagination, but in that case, I actually serve my sinful inclinations.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Yes, the righteous requirement of the law CAN be fulfilled in us who walk in keeping with the spirit of God. How can we walk in that way? By appropriating through faith the enabling grace made available through Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.


Well I’ve been wrong before, and will be again. I’ve been called ignorant before but wrong and ignorant in the same sentence… That is bad. :hushed:

Much of my post was to qaz. And I really tried to acknowledge your post and say that it was just my opinion, thus trying to say that I was responding but not attacking.

Obviously, it did not go as I had planned.

I never would want to stymie anyone. But hey bro, this is what we do here. Both of us are guilty of shooting pop shots at each other and others.

The ism thing… hmm And Big -ist?

Thanks for being easy on me. I deserve every bit of it.


(i do agree that starting a post with [bovine feces] is not a good ice breaker):laughing:


Well it was the ‘bovine feces’ remark following a quote of mine that kinda got my attention.
We’re good.


Hi Paidion and thanks for your very gracious reply. I’m not unfamiliar with the views you propound either (synergy, NPP etc) and I certainly never let my own interpretation of ‘imputation’ suggest that I dont’t need to act in a way which pleases God, or ‘take my own part’ as it were in ‘working out’ my salvation (nor would I ever teach such to my students - quite the opposite!) I’m sure much of the confusion in these areas is caused by the underlying emphasis different Christians make between the initial salvation and the life of gradual sanctification which follows. I’m aware that many (I believe especially in the US in recent times) have got hold of the idea that they can have ‘salvation’ without the ‘Lordship of Christ’; i.e., that once saved, it kind of ‘doesn’t matter what I do, I’m okay’.

I certainly have never held to any such idea, nor do any of my evangelical acquaintances. I guess ‘imputation’ for me is summed up in the words of another modern worship song which talks about standing before the Lord; ‘In royal robes I don’t deserve/I live to serve your majesty’ (King of kings, Majesty).

And surely, ‘justification’ is just another, similar, ‘picture’ (for all of our talk in such areas has to be in metaphors and similes and the like), for trying to say that we are forgiven, and though we may not deserve to be accepted, we are; as Paul has it in 2 Cor 5:21 ‘He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ Rom 8:1, which you cite, is another, similar text which seems to underpin my own views as strongly as your own!

You have probably guessed that I’ve held my own views for a long time; changing them is not easy, though I’m always ready to listen, consider and pray about different ways of looking at things - go where I feel the truth leads, however uncomfortable that may become. The ‘universalism’ part of my faith is a problem as it could cause me difficulty in continuing my lecturing work etc. Neverthless, it has always attracted me and I continue to look into it - hence my appearance on this site.

God bless



God’s Law demands that we love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls and to love others as we love ourselves. That’s all it ever was and ever will be, just as it says in Deut. 10:16-20,“Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart and be stiff-necked no longer. for the Lord your God is God of gods, Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing, Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him, and to Him you shall hold fast and take oaths in His name.”

The everlasting covenant was and still is to circumcise the foreskin of your heart and God will be your God and you will be His son/daughter.

" I will look upon those who are humble and contrite of spirit."

The Levitical law says in 24:19-20 says this: “If a man causes disfigurement of his neighbor , as he has done, so shall it be done to him-fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has caused disfigurement of a man so shall it be done to him.”
If one should follow this law, it would make him/her a sinner.
The Levitical law also made everyone a sinner in the sense that it declared things to be sins that weren’t really sins. For example it was a sin to have a baby, a bodily discharge of any sort, to eat certain foods etc.etc. And of course, one was forced to make a sin offering to the priests for forgiveness, who in many cases were allowed to keep the offering for themselves or eat it, whichever they preferred. How convenient is this? I would say that the priests were becoming quite fat and wealthy off of this deal.

As Isaiah 28:13 says 'But the word of the Lord was to them precept upon precept, line upon line…"

Does God give people commands with no ability to follow them? Does He say, " Love your neighbor as yourself. Phych, sorry but I didn’t give you the power to do this. Oh well." I don’t think so.


Well, I came across an interesting article from Patheos in 2011. Let me quote a bit from it:

There’s been a lot of good discussion in the last post by Sola Ratione. I just thought I should point out one thing: the idea that the crucifixion was a blood sacrifice to obtain God’s forgiveness is not the only explanation. Lemme explain.

John Shelby Spong once said that at the outset of Christianity, all Christian theology consisted of the words, “Jesus is Lord.” Everything that has come after that has been an attempt to explain what those words mean.

That’s a bit simplistic, but it gets the point across. The earliest Christians probably believed that Jesus was divine, but weren’t sure exactly how. In the same way, they most likely believed that his death meant something, but were not unified or articulate in what that meaning was.

Over the eons, Christian theologians have come up with a number of theories as to how his death brought about salvation. Sabio over at Triangulations charts out the major ones. The most common in American Evangelical Christianity is the “Penal Substitutionary Theory.” (I think. I haven’t actually seen statistics.) The late Ken Pulliam made a hobby out of dismantling this theory.

I suspect that all the theories have some problems. Some have actually become dated. The idea that Jesus was a blood sacrifice was probably the earliest theory, developed at a time when it was assumed that Gods required sacrifices. Now it’s uncomfortable to even consider.

The other idea to consider, is that more than one theory - might be correct. There might be multiple reasons, for Christ’s sacrifice… Including the Eastern Orthodox/ Eastern Catholic one - I subscribe to.

And I leave everyone with this GIF…in case my theory, that the Zombie Apocalypse…is the most probable, end times tribulation model - is correct. :wink:


Thanks for being clear. It appears that by not engaging the words of Paul’s own assertions, you just offer arguments that he was incorrect about what was needed and what Jesus did. And your logic makes sense :slight_smile:

Yet, I personally find that I do experience inabilities that leave me far short of loving with my whole being, and wonder if Paul was onto something when he argues that the whole Biblical narrative is highlighting the failure and apparent inadequacy of God’s chosen people to be what they were called to be.


Your response is equally gracious. And after reading it, I think we are not far apart in our understanding.


No, not quite, but rather… those responding to God’s call to follow Christ are encouraged in the ways of righteousness as is indicative of numerous verses already mentioned etc.

Well yes, though I’d be saying… the consequential results of THE completed redemptive task is what we are to be “flesh out” — we’re not making it happen (Jesus did it all for all) but testifying to it.

Yeah that was one of those texts (Col 1:24) that always had me scratching my head until I realised Paul wasn’t referring to the magnitude of efficacy BUT rather, the scope thereof. Paul wasn’t making up for some deficiency or lack on Christ’s part, but rather, joining and making up the breadth of effect of the same… Jesus had previously said… “greater works than these shall ye do” — well considering all that Jesus did, one wonders how. But Jesus was talking about Himself being replicated manifold through his servant firstfruit saints — thus not in magnitude but in scope, i.e., in the breadth and reach God’s grace through His Body.

Not so much wrong but the real scope of the call was to unbelieving Israel, and if any beyond Israel so-joined they would likewise be blessed. Remember… Israel was in covenant with God and yet was under *covenant sanctions^ BECAUSE OF covenant unfaithfulness. Thus the call to repentance was the call to covenant renewal; and THAT came via Jesus (true Israel). Thus was the call to believe, i.e., confess and believe Christ as Israel’s true king — NOT Caesar (Jn 19:15; Lk 19:14; Acts 4:12; 17:7).

Well, the parousia was for THEM, one and all, and was still future and according to the epistles pertinent to THEIR times, or as Jesus said… “this generation” — so they wouldn’t have had any conception of bifurcating the realm or righteousness to a before or after scenario other than the fullness of blessing such would bring. They were genuine futurists, i.e., it ALL lay before THEM… we are of the post-parousia event and in that sense as believers are the offspring of those who first believed.


Bob, you said
Yet, I personally find that I do experience inabilities that leave me far short of loving with my whole being, and wonder if Paul was onto something when he argues that the whole Biblical narrative is highlighting the failure and apparent inadequacy of God’s chosen people to be what they were called to be.
On the contrary, I believe the whole Biblical narrative highlights the success of all those who believed in the power of God’s Spirit and followed Him.
Hebrews 11:30- 35 says this: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong , became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.
It goes on to say, “And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance that they might receive a better resurrection.”, meaning that through them, people might come to know the truth of God.

The Bible also speaks of the failure of those who pursue their own ways instead of the ways of the one true God.

Davo, the nation of Israel was NOT in covenant with God. They threw His covenant aside and took up their own version as it says in Galatians 4: 24-25 “For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar- for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia…” thus a need for truth and a reminder of the everlasting covenant given to Abraham which says to circumcise the foreskin of your heart and “I will be your God and you will be My people”,


Israel WAS in covenant disobedience toward God… hence the bondage they were under, as was typical of their story BECAUSE OF their stubbornness of heart.


LLC, as I said, Paul may be incorrect, but I personally relate more to his and the prophets’ assessment that Israel direly needed deliverance, and David’s humble recognition that, “I was sinful from the time of my birth,” and “my sin is always before me.”

But your own feeling about success in loving God with all your being, and your neighbors as yourself is notable and interesting.


[quote=“davo, post:807, topic:6381, full:true”]

Dave: Well, the parousia was for THEM, and was still future and according to the epistles pertinent to THEIR times…

Are you answering that Jesus’ words about God’s standards only apply to Jews, and not to anyone after AD 70? Does referring to the epistles also as “pertinent” to “THEIR” time imply that the whole NT had to be written before AD 70, and needed to be understood by later readers as not pertinent (or relevant) to their times?

If so, do you find that the early Christians understood that Jesus’ teaching and the epistles’ standards as well were no longer applicable in the way they were before AD 70? Can you cite places where Paul clearly articulates the demarcation of such a profound distinction? If you are claiming that nearly all Christendom missed this profound implication of the text, my sense is that a high bar of demonstration is needed.

You also assert that Jesus has already done “ALL for all.” That seems to define “ALL” too broadly. For I see the apostolic commands as relevant to what yet needs to be done.

You further say, “The real scope of the NT call was to unbelieving Israel.” I’m not seeing e.g. where Paul agrees that his call is now more for Jews as opposed to Gentiles.

Doesn’t the NT appear to assume that the apostles’ invitation and message applies to all, and even that it calls for faithful obedience to it until the day when the dead are raised with new bodies?


Price had a sermon (when he was still a pastor) that really hit home to me.

Disappointment with God

Last week I made the claim that we can get as close to God as we want to. And I stand by that. But there is another side to the thing. And that is this: in due time, I suggest, you will find yourself against a blank wall. You will conclude that with your mind you serve the law of God, but with the flesh you obey the commands of sin and death. And then what are you to conclude? You may look back in shame, or perhaps in bitterness, at what now seem the over-optimistic and inflated terms of the promise of sanctification that you once embraced. You may find that the straight and narrow path of sanctification is none other than the Boulevard of Broken Dreams!..

There is such a thing as spiritual disillusionment, disappointment with God. You feel far from God, but you know that despite the face-saving slogan, it was not you who moved. Rather, you take as your own the plaintive words of George Harrison’s psalm:

“I really want to know you, but it takes so long, my Lord.” If you have reached this point, I have some things to say to you. Or, even if you aren’t there yet, perhaps you can remember them in case that rainy day ever comes…

In all this I am not talking about a mere period of “spiritual dryness” which one might expect to endure for a while, a dark night of the soul which one hopes will end but fears will not. I am talking about the result of maturity, a mid-religious-life crisis, if you will, when you just have to realize that you are not going to become the pious angel you once thought you might be. You realize that it was never a realistic goal. You come to accept that Karl Barth wasn’t being pessimistic, he was being realistic, not unbelieving, but free of “childish things,” when he said,

Let us be honest. If we relate to ourselves, to you and me, to this or that Christian (even the best), that which is said about the conversion of man in the New Testament… it will have the inevitable smack of hyperbole and even illusion -and the more so the more we try to introduce it… [into] the Christian life. What are we with our little conversion, our little repentance and reviving, our little ending and new beginning, our changed lives…? How feeble is the relationship, even in the best of cases between the great categories in which the conversion of man is described in the New Testament, and the corresponding event in our own inner and outer life! (Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, IV/2, pp. 582-83. Quoted in James M. Gustafson, Christ and the Moral Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968, p. 95)…

There are plenty of people who do a passable job mimicking New Testament Christianity in our day. They are the pietists, the literalists, the adventists, the dogmatists, the exclusivists, the tongue-speakers and miracle-believers. Anyone else, they regard as mere worldlings, half-Christians. They point to their greater numbers and condescendingly tell mainline churches that, if they would embrace full-bodied Evangelicalism they would be growing. There is a great irony in that claim, for sooner or later, it is they who will be jumping ship.

The adolescent grandiosity that colors their religious life now will eventually die down, and they will become contemptible “half-Christians” like those they now pity. But they will be worse hypocrites than those others because, unlike them, they will continue to quote the fanatical texts of the New Testament as if they really believed them.

There is more to the sermon and it can be found here, but Price describes exactly my condition. I went from a “casually raised fundamentalist in my youth, to an fundamentalist zealot in my late teens to early 20’s, to a realist about the time I become a Father (12+ years ago) in my mid 20’s” and Price’s description of that journey seems, to me, dead on. I may have wavered back and a forth a bit, even in Fatherhood, but ultimately, it has been firmly planted in the realist position. The more I viewed people who claimed this higher walk and saw their glaring same imperfections as me, taught me that some people are really blind when looking into themselves.

So, I guess I agree with Bob (both Bob’s really) on this one. One can only maintain zealotry for so long before they start to see the reality of the situation. Certainly some may stubbornly hold out (and quote the parable of the soils, no doubt), but most of us figure out perfection, even almost perfection is simply not reality and everyone who claims to have attained or near it, in my experience has blind spots large enough to blot out the sun.


Yes, Gabe, I like this. My personal impression is that all extreme views of human nature and our sanctification are off the mark, and that the traditional Jewish reading that we are all ‘mixed bags’ is more balanced. This implies that we are capable of experiencing and doing much good, but still are finite and ego-centered and thus demanding some kind of ‘perfection’ is wrong-headed. Thus the grace of forgiveness and in the midst of my shortcomings, accepting myself as I am, and yet seeking to lovingly move ahead is what works best for me.




Bob, your idea of extreme views that are off the mark might need to be somehow put into perspective. You Bob, have no Holy Grail to say what anyone is or is not to believe. Paul was surely trying to tell both the Jew and Gentile believers that Christ came. And he reconciled first of all the Israelites that would hear his word and act accordingly, and would be saved, saved, from destruction. This salvation was to there and then. The atonement was Paul’s message to the folks he was talking to…



Wow MM, this observation was not any attempt to tell others what they must believe, much less claiming that I have any holy grail. I was simply sympathizing personally with Gabe’s skepticism about claiming that I have arrived at perfect maturity.

It happens that I did my doctoral dissertation on Wesley’s teaching of Christian Perfection, and while I was deeply impressed with Wesley’s life (and the honesty that he never claimed to have personally achieved this) I personally saw his exegesis and perceptions of human nature as short of reality. But stating my own impression of such a question is always just my own opinion, and never intended to be taken as a personal attack on you or demand that others believe in my perception.

Grace be with you,


Thanks Bob, I appreciate your position.

Thanks Bob and your statement “stating my own impression of such a question is always just my own opinion, and never intended to be taken as a personal attack on you or demand that others believe in my perception”

Is quite a statement.

.Thanks brother. (And that is a real statement) :smiley: