NEW! ESV Study Bible – due out in October

I know I’ll be getting one (Sky said she’ll make it my Christmas gift – woo-hoo!). It is probably the best single study tool I’ve seen.


We invite you to download the latest sample from the ESV Study Bible, the Introduction to the book of Revelation (8 MB PDF). This pre-release PDF provides you a glimpse of what the ESV Study Bible is designed to deliver—namely, tools and information to help you understand God’s Word more deeply.

The Introduction to the book of Revelation explains the book’s author, date, historical setting, and purpose. The introduction also unpacks the key themes of the book, its literary features, and its place in the history of salvation. In addition to a full-color map showing the location of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3, you’ll also find a number of charts that give an overview of the various approaches to interpreting Revelation and the different millennial positions.

Every book in the ESV Study Bible has an introduction like this one, providing essential information to enrich your study of God’s Word. We have also included the first few pages from chapters 1 and 2 of the book of Revelation so that you can see the font size and layout of the ESV Study Bible.

You can learn more about the ESV Study Bible and get a pre-order discount at REMINDER: the 33% pre-order discount ends this Sunday, June 15th.

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Keep watching your inbox for news about the ESV Study Bible, coming this October.

Thank you for your interest!

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52 thoughts on “NEW! ESV Study Bible – due out in October

  1. Reid,off topic,but I thought I’d let you know about Terry Rayburn’s site ‘’. I came across it via the chaps at ‘ thoughts on the way’.

  2. Reid,in the same vein as above…as well what I was saying wrt Jim Fowler,Greg Albrecht, I recently read 3 of the most important books I think I’ll read…Steve McVey’s ‘Grace Walk’and’Grace Rules’;and ‘the rest of the gospel’by Dan Stone and David Gregory. They maintain the 3level function of man, a radical grace, a high view of regeneration with man having just one nature,and an exchanged life a la Gal 2v20 where there is both twoness and a oneness to union with Christ-both relationally,positionally…

  3. …and spiritually in the sense of an actual impartation of the divine nature through the indwelling of Christ (joined to our new,perfect spiritat)at the new birth. Sanctification is then the fructification of our souls and actions by the Spirit as we rest complete in Christ,appropriating there realities. We don’t live ‘for’ Christ'(under law
    ,by self-effort)but our very life is the resurrection life of the in dwelling Christ,which wells up abundantly as we choose to walk in the Spirit,by pure grace.

  4. I’m reading the “rest of the Gospel” now, but have not heard of the other two. Someone else saw my stuff and thought it sounded like Stone – but I’m not sure yet. I need to go through it more thoroughly.

  5. I’m reading it the second time and am getting more after reading grace walk and grace rules. My heart is weak, but I can’t help feeling that I did have an intuitive sense of the freedom of the gospel 7 years ago as a 21yo who had just realized he was justified by faith and not under law at all,and thereby felt love for his saviour,joy and peace,and started to come out of himself a bit. I believe I ran into problems when I started going at self improvement ‘with God’s help’.

  6. I fear we have forgotten how powerful to simple pursuit of Christ in meeting Him constantly in the Word, prayer, worship and fellowship/ministry to others, really is. And, that seeking to live in conscious, constant, deliberate dependence upon the Holy Spirit will truly change us.

  7. Yes,agreed. But again,if I turn all those things into a law and discipline as a means of grace,am still living in separation from my Father in that I confuse mercy and grace-I treat myself as having sins covered,but not removed-then doesn’t that define the walk as one of constantly pursuing the lover of your person who’s not around long enough for you to enjoy him?I wonder that if we grasped the full gospel we’d rather know Jesus and us united as one-not me always trying to catch up. I think that…

  8. …the ‘jealous lover’ figure is an old covenant figure-the constant husband and Abba Father decidedly new for one under grace so that ‘one’can be reinvested with God in Christ by the Spirit as a living,constant mirror of God’s glory and favour…just some thoughts

  9. What I would not want to do here is mix apples with oranges. Just because something is necessary to a certain end, does not automatically turn it into legalism or contrary to grace. For instance, one MUST breathe, in order to retain physical life. If your doctor told you, you had to stop eating poison in order to live, you wouldn’t call him a legalist. If you teacher told you, you must learn the alphabet in order to read, you would not call her a legalist. Yet if the Church says we must read God’s Word in order to know Him, or pray, or worship – that somehow becomes legalism? I don’t think so. I think those are statements of brute fact. Now one step further – if I want to retain intimacy with my wife, I will need to spend time with her, talk with her, listen to her, kiss her, etc. And when my beautiful bride issues a command like “kiss me you fool!” I do not count any aspect of that legalism in even the slightest degree. These are part and parcel of living, vibrant, authentic relationship. I speak to God in prayer, that I might know Him. I make time for Him each day in His Word so that I hear His voice, see His heart, know His thoughts and draw near to Him. If one accuses me that I do these things out of legalism, I will deny it with my whole being. I do it out of love. To know Him is to love Him, and to love Him, I must know Him. Whatever that takes. It is exertion, but not labor. It takes energy, but is not exhausting, but rather refreshing. Life is found in meeting with Him. Making the time to be with Him. It is the only way I can delight in Him. I cannot do it passively. There is no such thing as passive love. God so loved…He gave. I so love, I receive. I love Him, because he first loved me – but I DO love Him. Not simply have nice feelings toward Him, but love Him as I love my wife – engaging Him. these are not legalist realities, they are relational realities. Love will always bind us harder and faster, and “demand” more from us than Law ever can. I will willingly be an absolute slave – to love. Paradox, but not contradiction. I do not want my fears of becoming a legalist, to ever “free” me from needing to be with Him.

  10. What I was getting at is that we don’t ‘do’ anything to enter life,and we don’t ‘do’to maintain it. We don’t receive grace freely and then it becomes something conditioned…rather the strength of doing those things as a genuine heart expression is to realize they don’t bind as legal duty. Were I to address them that way,I construct a phony veil that Christ died to remove…and I lose the intimacy I seek and the natural expression of the same in the way commands describe anyway. I’m not denigrating…

  11. …the written word,either…just pointing out that it is an inerrant ‘apologetic’ for a living reality…and I think perhaps God has sanctified many a believer who has had little or no access to it. That’s not to say a gracious heart will neglect it when he has access,but just that it’s not right to make a Christ out of anything but Christ…I cannot please Christ by adulterous devotion to the husband of Mr Law he died to free me from to bring forth fruit to God. That’s the fruit of as-if separation.

  12. Also,I’m not talking passivity,just sure activity that is the sure fruit of receptivity to God’s activity. Believer are already as near as can be to God spiritually,for he indwells,and their living of his life progresses as the things that support that ‘phony veil’ that interfere with their perception of the new Covenant and themselves as new creations are torn down. Then the Spirit is unquenched and his power flows…I’m just thinking aloud,Reid…have a look at McVey’s books

  13. Sorry-limited phone field…one more…as an all-encompassing definition of ‘ legalism’that comprises what Paul declares as ‘ another gospel’,I would say anything a person does to gain God’s love,favour,or blessings. I think realizing that is the strength of living out his resurrection life by the Spirit.

  14. OK – Let me try to move us closer to a complete understanding of one another this way: When Jesus said to His disciples – “Matt. 6:4 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” What did he mean?
    Did He mean we could neglect forgiveness and still have God’s favor regardless?
    That unforgiveness has no impact on the Believer?
    That Believers can remain in unforgiveness without consequence?
    That the Father does not care one way or the other if we do not forgive?
    Or how about: Luke 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
    Can I refuse to bear my own cross and follow Christ and still be His?
    We need to be careful we do not blanket some statements to the point that we can actually live in utter abandon to sin. Our formulations have to factor these kinds of realities in. Otherwise, we make God to be a liar when He says: “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Eph. 5:5)

    How do those kinds of statements factor into what you are saying? I’m not sure.

  15. Limited space…the post-Pentecost new heart takes care of righteous disposition. Law tells me what I ought to do,and gives me no power to do it. Of course,the old man under sin attempts to do it continuously,and that is the root of his sin which gains strength by whatever law he is under. On regeneration,with a new spirit that gives the believer a dependant, receiving posture,he is reinvested with God in him so that by faith he lives out Christ’s own life, who is living righteousness,so of course this…

  16. …means he will forgive etc. But to live out Christ’s life,walking in the spirit,self must be out the way…and law only makes it’s demand on the’self’which was crucified at the cross-so that we could be delivered from performance righteousness and live to God in the new (NC)way God intends.So the strength of holiness is appropriating this fullness of new covenant grace…in this vein,when Jesus sets forth what he said in Mat6v14,15,he reveals sin/righteousness in an OC context. When the full reality of…

  17. …the NC is revealed post-Pentecost,we find Paul in Eph4v32 telling us that in the NC the strength of free forgiveness is that we are freely forgiven…I don’t think two layers of forgiveness are in mind-one for justification,another for sanctification…if the believer walks in the fullness of grace,he finds the life of Christ in him disposes him to forgive…this is the only way to obey with ‘the obedience of faith’. Yes, God’s favour is unconditional for the believer. When he realizes it,it leaves no…

  18. …room for filling up the misdeeds of the flesh,because he has a new heart,one spirit with the Lord,which in love and gratitude expresses Christ’s life, in whom is no sin!..I can’t give the exact link here,but I found Terry Rayburn’s audio ‘discipleship is not salvation’ helpful. It navigates the right path between ‘Lordship theology’and ‘no -Lordship’by rightly discerning the nature of the new heart and the new creature by regeneration…I think he’s right

  19. Reid,the upshot of all the above would then be many committed professing Christians(perhaps many true,some not)who’s committment is actually hindering their growth and ministry,despite the prima facie appearance. Having begun in the Spirit,would now be made perfect by the flesh…it’s Galatians. While we can know much about Christ,and even be known of God,we can’t intimately,experientially ‘know’him and bear his fruit until ‘Christ is (again)formed in us’. The other way seems right to a man, but…

  20. Hey Phil – I did listen to Terry’s audio, and of course both agreed, and disagreed with him. His fundamental premise that we cannot take our Gospel teaching from the Gospels themselves I have to reject. That is an old error of extreme dispensationalism (not saying Terry is necessarily dispensational – just making a comparison) which won’t work. It denies the clear assertion of passages like the following, that in fact Jesus was not reiterating the Old Covenant, but preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom:
    Matt 4:23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
    Matt 9:35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
    Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
    Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Second, his characterization of “Lordship salvation guy” is someone I’ve never met. Since that term arose over the controversy surrounding MacArthur’s book “The Gospel According to Jesus” – one would assume Terry would articulate MacArthur’s position. He didn’t. Lordship salvation as Mac states it (and I would agree) is that a man is justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that remains alone, but is lived out in good works. Our re-creation in the new birth is UNTO good works: Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    While Terry seems to get there himself eventually, he has actually erected a “lordship salvation” straw man. Jesus command to the disciples was in fact to make disciples of all men. Implied in that post-new covenant ratification statement is that men who believe are to men who follow.

    Lastly, I think Terry suffers a tad from an over-realized eschatology. Yes, we are new creatures in Christ. But no, we are not yet perfect nor conformed to the image of Christ and we do indeed still have to address our cross daily. 1 Cor 15:31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!

    Engagement in the sanctification process is commanded. The nature of that engagement is where I believe we err.

    This is a good discussion to have.

  21. I’ll try and get near a computer to perhaps write a bit more, but I think there are fundamentally different bases in play here with different anthropologies etc that mean Terry et al understand justification(I think),perfection,sanctification etc differently(I somewhat tentatively say, rightly)…you may be interested in McVey’s ‘101 lies’videos(I’ve seen a few on u-tube.) Terry didn’t mean any H-DP error…but that Jesus preaches the same gospel,yet in veiled,embryonic form in an OC context. Then…

  22. …when the NC is cut and the Spirit comes,the Apostles grow into a realization of the full dynamic,that is ‘Christ in us’that ‘fulfills all righteousness in a new and living way as befits sons under pure grace,as opposed to heirs under law(Gal3,4)…I’ve read JM’s TGATTA-I think Terry’s right…I think I was wrong in saying the Rom7 man was an unbeliever in my essay-I now think it’s a ‘works sanctification’ believer-but I think JM set forth a mixed grace/law New Covenant, in contrast.

  23. I can’t help feeling that the tone of MacArthur’s presentation brought in works qualifications-wrt to initial repentance and thereafter-a ‘hard believism’…from what I remember,Spurgeon’s ‘all of grace’ was better.

  24. You see,those chaps have us ‘partakers of the divine nature’and ‘perfected’in regeneration in a way which includes an IMPARTATION of righteousness-not character works,but the spiritually indwelling Christ himself,joined to our new and perfect spirit in union, that means we are ‘made righteous’as to our spiritual identity as new creatures in a way which is more that just a bare forensic declaration. We are ‘complete in Christ’at faith,and growth and real fruit is the outgrowth of it’s appropriation.

  25. Sorry…(!)the issue I’m getting at is not does faith produce fruit,or ‘works’-but what REALLY are the nature of those works,as identified by one’s understanding of these issues. When are they done out of the resources of the flesh,and when the indwelling Spirit? I find Rom6-8 and Galatians making a strict antithesis between the principles of law and grace,grace the strength of holiness,and law that of sin…and we can’t mix the two…and many of us attributing what is of the flesh,by law,to the Spirit.

  26. I’m really flooding this one..

    Also, with 1Cor15v31, I’ve often found this used as a defence of a sanctification where the Christian is always trying to “die to self”…and I’ve probably viewed it that way myself, too. But my understanding of the passage is that Paul’s arguing that all of Christianity (as set apart from “Christian religion”) hinges on the truth of the bodily resurrection of Christ. If Christ did not rise, then Christians who profess to live according to the ramifications of such an event – are not “good people who live a better life anyway” – but the most ridiculous fools. If the resurrection is false, then we may as well fill up the misdeeds of the flesh, eat, drink and be merry. (But if it’s true, then the religious folk who are happy with the externals are the fools…)Paul’s not saying there’s been no complete SPIRITUAL death of the old Adamic nature – the old man – and a resurrection of a new creature where ALL things are new…but that there’s not been the accompanying bodily resurrection yet. And he’s saying, “look, brothers, at all the suffering and persecution I go through in the body on account of being a new creature in a fallen world!” It’s external suffering on account of increasing living according to the spiritual realities of himself a s a new creature, in like manner as Christ obeyed in faith, even to the point of death on the cross.

    If we could “die to self” Christ need not have died. He crucified our “old self” once and for all at the cross…having remaining sin – the flesh – is a different entity.

    All this bothers me because I find (and have found in my immediate proximity) that so many professing Christians (including myself in a practical sense, despite having some ongoing cognitive, intellectual grasp of this) think highly of “absolute surrender to God” and “dying to self” and “obedience” and “the law”, but they seem to have unbiblical ideas of what those things are, such that they just appear “Christian religion”. If righteousness (in the full sense) could have come by a system of law, then Christ died needlessly. He didn’t die so he could improve the Adamic man, he died to put it death to bring in a new creation who learns to live, and think, and breathe accordingly.

    It seems to me to be just like God to orchestrate things such that absolute freedom is absolute slavery at the same time, pure grace appropriated by faith is the vehicle for the Spirit’s fruit. But I also really think that there are some fundamental underlying things wrt to the realites of the fall, and anthropology, that (I understand they are “Augustinian”) are very necessary to grasp these things (at least when one has an epistemological grid otherwise contructed with which these things may clash when one examines them on that level).

  27. Let me just pick up on one central idea here. You write: “If we could “die to self” Christ need not have died. He crucified our “old self” once and for all at the cross…having remaining sin – the flesh – is a different entity.”

    The idea as I understand it can be applied several ways, and can have an application to both believers and non-believers. For instance, the unbeliever is called upon to deny himself or die to self, as part of the external call to abandon a life built around self, and to live for God. As the Spirit is working in men to bring them to Christ, this call in some produces a turning toward Christ, and in others, is part of their condemnation. All men are duty bound to respond to the Gospel – God commands all men everywhere to repent.

    It also has reference to the person ceasing all forms of self-justification. Dying to human effort or merit in order to be right with God.

    In the believer it functions in recognizing that true progress in sanctification means not relying upon human effort to gain ground in holiness being lived out in the life (one cannot actually BE any more righteous, since their righteousness is Christ’s imputed to them – but they can live increasingly under the influence of the Holy Spirit) while at the same time recognizing their responsibility to refuse sinful actions. A person is responsible to change their behavior to conform to God’s standards, though the mere change in behavior is not in fact growth in sanctification itself. Millions of people around the world today will not murder anyone and so conform to the sixth commandment. That however will not be counted to them as righteousness, even though they are required to do so.

    In the final analysis, and most practical and applicable to the believer is that dying to self is simply another way of expressing Rom. 6:12 (and others) 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Based upon the work of Christ at Calvary, and our inclusion in it by being baptized into the body by the Spirit, we then are responsible to not let sin reign in us. It is still present there, and its influence is to be denied – and its influence is still potent because it is still a part of us.

  28. Back to limited space…to ‘repent’is to change one’s mind about sin,and Christ,receiving a full and FREE pardon,no qualifications,a la ‘all of grace’. The NC in force brings a new birth that fulfills in man-as a free gift-the ‘denial’that’s commanded of man,but which he cannot fulfill himself. The Spirit convicts the unbeliever of his unbelief,not his ‘vices’…in the believer,his identity founded on his perfect spirit,rather than his soul,he can only live out of the Spirit by ‘dying to self’or ‘dying to..

  29. Law’subjectively by choosing to live out of the objective fact that spiritually,this death has already taken place. Sanctification is not then ‘conformity to God’s standard’as if an independent creature who can PRODUCE God’s righteousness(with his help!),but EXPRESSING Christ’s OWN life as a derivative(and new)man now alive to God and dead to sin. Rom 6v12 reveals we are to act as the new creatures we are-the ONLY way we can put of sin and deny the flesh is by realizing that we are already dead to sin by…

  30. …the cross. As we are now fundamentally changed,if we walk in the Spirit(we have to choose to believe these things-it’s not automatic that a believer’s ‘good deeds’ are spiritual)this is not denial anymore,but as natural as sin was before. The only way to ‘mortification’is ‘vivification’. The deeds of the flesh are ‘not us’-that is,not part of some supposed dual nature.So it’s not like we’re putting off ourselves anymore…but we will be attempting to put of the misdeeds of flesh with the flesh otherwise!

  31. In comment 28 my ref to Augustinian anthropology was meant to contrast it with this one. I understand Augustine,for whatever reasons,was ‘dichotomist’.He believed that man ACTUALLY became independent at the Fall. That he is constituted capable of PRODUCING God’s righteousness,given a suitable mental response to any belief propositions and associated ethic. The identity of the man is then based on his soul-mind,affections,will. He must have ‘human nature’INHERENTLY sinful before new birth,and mixed after…

  32. …on on account of the Fall, meaning all born in Adam are born with a fully formed,substantive ‘hunk’ of evil called ‘the flesh’…I don’t think so. I think man was never constituted to produce God’s righteousness,but to express God’s own activity. The Fall left man ‘as if’independent,but actually spiritually enslaved to Satan. The character expression of the indwelling usurper develop as inherently good human faculty is’kinked'(‘the flesh’)by him as the person goes through life unregenerate. The man’s…

  33. ‘nature’is who he is on the level of his spirit. That is all new at regeneration. Satan is out,God is in. He is now man capable of spiritual function as God intended. The flesh remains,and Satan would tempt him externally to sin accordingly,but if he does sin,he’s not doing it out of his nature,but against it…if my anthropology says the soul is who I am,then I’m going to be ‘as if’2 natures,struggling to put off and kill the bad one(which doesn’t exist),and produce life FOR God rather than express his.

  34. Just to clarify,I mean by ‘the flesh’the particular,individual, habituated patterns of soul activity that were the kinking of legitimate faculties(still inherently intact in spite of the Fall)that developed over the course of the time that,spiritually deriving from Satan,the person was ‘in the flesh’-defined and controlled by it,’under the power of sin’as personified in him who has the power of death,the prince of the power of the air at work in the children of disobedience, whom Christ died to set free.

  35. Any sin in the believer is due to answering Satan’s temptations,as he ‘goes fishing’in the remaining habituated fleshly patterns of his soul that developed while he was ‘in Adam’. The flesh is not a substantive part of us. The pattern of our temptations are as Christ’s were on earth-an external temptation directed at the soul(which in no way is dualistically separate from the body)that would seek to draw us away from spiritual sourcing of God in us for soulical/bodily expression of God’s life in us,’ as’us.

  36. I think the fundamental things that we need to renew our minds with for transformation are these that are the death of the fundamental lies that man was left with by the Fall…to be a spiritally minded believer over a carnally minded one, we must appropriate the reality of ourselves as new creatures with one nature,already blessed with all spiritual blessings,and trustingly live out Christ’s life in and as us in the Father’s unconditional love in the freedom of the new Covenant… And I’m not there yet.

  37. Right,this’ll be the last one today!..the new creation does righteousness because he has been made the righteousness of God by the joining of his spirit to that of the indwelling Christ, not because he is under any law. This way he is ‘in-law’ to Christ when under pure grace…this obedience of faith that rests in him to actively live his resurrection life patterns Christ’s on earth,in so far as he did righteousness because he was righteousness-but his glory in his deity is not veiled in the NC believer

  38. Right,this’ll be the last one today!..the new creature does righteousness because he has been made the righteousness of God by the joining of his spirit to that of the indwelling Christ, not because he is under any law. This way he is ‘in-law’ to Christ when under pure grace…this obedience of faith that rests in him to actively live his resurrection life patterns Christ’s on earth,in so far as he did righteousness because he was righteousness-but his glory in his deity is not veiled in the NC believer

  39. Apologies for the pithy and multitudinous posts Reid. Do you see what I’m getting at with the gospel dynamic fulfilling all righteousness by grace from first to last? Do you have any more comments on my posts subsequent to yours?If not,that’s ok…some of Spurgeons sermons were delightful to me back when I was 21…I have felt that oftentimes,many modern reformed people have lost ‘free grace’so much with their qualifications,and not wanting to be misunderstood-I feel wary of myself

  40. I get what you are driving at, but grow concerned at “how righteous” – (in terms of actually having some kind of infused righteousness versus forensic righteousness) one can say we are. This concerns me for several reasons – not the least of which is it leads to (or I should say CAN lead to) a form of religious schizophrenia, where we say “I’m not guilty” when I sin, because “it was sin in me” – virtually acting independently. Sin cannot act accept through the human will. If I have nothing within to actually be at war with (i.e. remnants of my own indwelling sin nature) then I lose entire portions of the NT. Fleshly lusts do war against the soul. They do not do so as though they are a separate intelligence or entity – they do so because it is US. Putting to death the deeds of the flesh is an activity I have to be engaged in. That cannot be conceived of only in terms of coming into the full realization of my position in Christ (though that is certainly a part of it) I must be willing to curb my behavior as well. Now there is no question one can curb their behavior (in many instances) without the Spirit’s work at all. Pagans do it everyday. The Christian is under no less obligation to curb our behavior because we are in Christ and partake of His righteousness. True, we do it by consciously relying upon the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, but we are not to make any provision for the flesh – even under the pretense of waiting until I can just get to the place where Christ is lived out in me. He DOES need to be lived out in me in terms of true sanctification, but that is not the only thing I must be engaged in. I am saying we are to be in this fight, fully engaged, all the while knowing, the victory has been promised and will be had because of Christ. I risk the battle knowing the sure outcome.

  41. With respect to justification, I was not in any way suggesting an infused righteousness a law Roman Catholicism. That idea, as I understand it, is that God’s “grace” by my “faith” bumps up my personal character and “good works” so that God may decalre my righteous on an amalgam between my faith and works. That marries law and grace right at the outset.

    However, in response to that, I think that to be “made the righteous of God in Christ” upon salvation is more than just a forensic declaration. It’s a declaration (by way of a full and free forgiveness) based on a spiritual reality that has taken place on the level of my spirit – which is the level which determines my identity as an “old” or “new” creation. Upon new birth, the old man died (a spirit dead in trespasses and sins), and the new man (because he was given a new spirit joined to the Lord’s) was born. That takes seriously what we are told,2Cor5v17, about “all things being new”. (It will also be the reason why the sin inclination is removed – the “bondage of the will” as you and I understand it, removed – so that the sinner freely chooses Christ in faith).

    I’m not entirely sure that the “perfection” mentioned in Heb10v14(?) and justification are synonomous – but if I go for “yes, they are”, then this is just saying that new covenant justification is not “just forgiveness” – but neither is it “forgiveness plus the imputation of Christ’s law-keeping” (which I don’t find in the bible. It is the “reckoning towards” or imputation of forgiveness PLUS Christ’s own person, who IS eternal life and the very personification of living righteousness. (Kerry Kinchen once stated that that was his understanding of justification).

    With respect to excusing sin, I didn’t mean that sin was ever something we were’nt responsible for. When I referred to it being “not me”, I was saying that we should – with a tri-level conception of the new creation – realize that it no longer comes out of us as new creations. We still will it (when we close with external temptation), but it is contrary who we are, both positionally AND spiritually. It is the motivation and strength to put of sin when you know that you’re not trying to put off something which doesn’t belong to your very essential nature “in Christ” any more. The “old man” and “the flesh” are different things. I’m convinced it’s an error to think that we are “two natures” because we still have “the flesh” and we assume that’s still part of our nature as “new creations where all things are new”. I think it will leave us trying to “put off”(with “the flesh”) what Christ has already put to death, so that we can’t live out of our “new nature” and out off sin anyway!

    I wasn’t suggesting that fleshly lust don’t war against the soul. The flesh remains, and when we are not walking according to these truths, the believer will stir up the power of sin in that flesh – which (as I though you agreed with in my Rom 7 essay) – fundamentally moves him to try to “put off sin”, “keep God’s law” and “live for God” – which brings him inot misery, frustration and an INCREASE in sin. There is no wonder at all that “law teaching” leaves people full of ungodly, fleshly attitudes as described in Gal5 – and the more they try to put them off this way the more the problem is compounded.

    However, the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” has set him free from the “law of sin and death”, and so IF he walks according to the Spirit, the sin power(which has already been severed as to his identity) will not exercise itself as it would. Walking in the Spirit always leads to “filling up all righteousness” becuase the indwelling Christ and the believer are “righteous”. Walk in the Spirit, and you won’t fill up the misdeeds of the flesh. Learning and renewing our minds according to all the spiritual truths that inform that for us – helps us to “live by faith” and so bear the fruit of the Spirit. I think there is the potential for victory in the Christian walk…once upon a time perhaps it was the norm is some quarters.

    We can’t “curb our behaviour” – and the Spirit certainly isn’t involved in it – in just the same fashion as the unbeliever you mention can’t do, either – by attempting to starve an “old nature”. The WAY that we “work out our salvation”, the way that we “make no provision for the flesh” is by learning to live out of “Christ in us” – out of his life alone. Wrt to your reference of “the pretense of waiting until I can get to the place where Christ is lived out in me” – the point is growing in faith to where we better realize what we already have by the cross, so that we can better live the life. We didn’t come to Christ under any pretension that you could be saved by earnng his love,favour, or blessing – in fact while we thought that – how could we be saved by receiving a free pardon? We couldn’t. Likewise, wrt to living the life. And if we lose that, how then can much of what we call “sanctification” by genuine? And we are often drunk on our own efforts which we attribute to God.

    I think the only way we can fight with the right armour is by living in the spiritual realities which allow us to “rest in him”, “ceasing from our own works”, not seeking his love,favour, or blessing by anything we do.

    Paul’s defence that pure, 100% grace wasn’t licence – was not to preach a works obligation – but an “obligation” which was the power of the gospel. It wasn’t to marry law and grace in sanctification – or as it says on the back of MacArthur’s book “The Gospel According to the Apostles” something about formulating a “correct tension” between faith and works. Paul’s defence was to turn it around completely and say “look! grace is the ONLY way to holiness, and why sin shall not be your master!” His defence in Rom 6 was a defence of the new heart and the radical change that the new birth really brought- a radical change that perhaps many of us (like myself) don’t realize that we have, becuase we’re stumbled by mistruths.

    The Christian is under no less obligation to curb our behavior because we are in Christ and partake of His righteousness. True, we do it by consciously relying upon the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, but we are not to make any provision for the flesh – even under the pretense of waiting until I can just get to the place where Christ is lived out in me. He DOES need to be lived out in me in terms of true sanctification, but that is not the only thing I must be engaged in. I am saying we are to be in this fight, fully engaged, all the while knowing, the victory has been promised and will be had because of Christ. I risk the battle knowing the sure outcome.

  42. Apologies the mistakes and my posting of a paragraph of your post at the bottom – I needed to see it when I wrote that reply and forgot it was there.

  43. I think these things among those essential for us to live according to what you describe in your post ‘fructified part 3’-but in spiritual union with the indwelling Christ-rather than spiritual separation.

  44. Lets’ see what you think of this. This is from Calvin’s Catechism.

    119. What do you mean then by saying that a man is justified by faith?
    That in believing the promises of the gospel and in receiving them in true affiance of the heart, we enter into this righteousness.

    120. You mean then that as God offers righteousness to us by the gospel, so it is by faith that we receive it?

    121. But after God has once received us, are the works which we do by His grace, not pleasing to Him?
    Yes, they are, in that He generously accepts them, not however in virtue of their own worthiness.

    122. How is that? Are they not accepted as worthy, seeing that they proceed from the Holy Spirit?
    No. For there is always some weakness in them, the weakness of our flesh, through which they are defiled.

    123. By what means, the, are they made acceptable?
    It is by faith. That is to say, that a person is assured in his conscience that God will not examine him harshly, but covering his defects and impurities by the purity of Jesus Christ, He will regard him as perfect.

    124. But can we say from this that a Christian man is justified by works after God has called him, or that through them he merits the love of God, and so obtains eternal life?
    No. On the contrary, it is said that no man living will be justified in His sight (Ps. 143:2). Therefore we have to pray that He will not enter into judgment with us, nor call us to account.

    125. You do not mean therefore that the good works of believers are useless?
    No. For God promises to reward them fully, both in this world and in Paradise. But this comes from His gratuitous love toward us: moreover He buries all our faults, so as never to remember them.

    126. But can we believe that we are justified, without doing good works?
    That is impossible. For to believe in Jesus Christ is to receive Him as He has given Himself to us. He promises not only to deliver us from death and restore us to favour with God His Father, through the merit of His innocence, but also to regenerate us by His Spirit, that we may be enabled to live in holiness.

    127. Faith, then, not only does not make us careless of good works, but is the root from which they are produced.
    It is so, and for this reason, the doctrine of the Gospel is comprehended in these two points, faith and repentance.

    128. What is repentance?
    Dissatisfaction with and a hatred of evil and a love good proceeding from the fear of God, and inducing us to mortify our flesh, so that we may be governed and led by the Holy Spirit, in the service of God.

    129. But this second point we have mentioned concerning the Christian life.
    Yes, and we said that the true and legitimate service of God is to obey His will.

    130. Why?
    Because He will not be served according to our own imagination, but in the way that pleases Him.

  45. I’ve written a reply Reid,but I’ll have to post it when I can get to a computer-assuming I feel well enough,tomorrow…you might be interested, as I was, in the short entries that come up on the front page of

  46. Well, bear in mind I’m thinking as I write somewhat…and my understanding is but partial. The first thing is obviously we need to be clear what we understand of the “promises of the gospel” and “righteousness” etc. And that are foundational paradigms are biblical(like what is a man? how is he constituted? what is man functioning as God intended? how does redemption restore that? etc).That in mind;
    121)My “contention” hitherto fore is defining the faith of the gospel such that we can define which works are “done by his grace“, and which out of the resources of the flesh. Not all the “works” in “service to God” a Christian does are pleasing to him in-and-of themselves as “acceptable service” – thus they can’t be treated as if in fact they were by recourse to a merely forensic declaration of righteousness. Those that are done out of the resources of the flesh are the wood, hay and stubble that will be burnt up and remembered no more in eternity. Those that we do out of Christ in us are the works prepared before hand that we should do, as (the Spirit’s) fruit of the gospel which brings gospel faith. They will be rewarded. They are (as I’ve seen Calvin say) a gift in themselves – we are privileged to partake in God’s own work as new creations in Christ – the Sovereign God does not “need us”, but he wants us – ourselves – and in that also makes us instrumental means in his eternal purposes.
    122) Again, not all we do in God’s name proceeds from him by the Spirit. God doesn’t appreciate what he doesn’t initiate. (Appreciating and delighting in us as new creations “righteous in Christ” is a whole different story…but one which he initiated!) However, if the works are done out of gospel faith, they do please God. And I (tentatively) don’t think that – in a given moment in time – we can be operating out of the resources of the flesh and the Spirit at the same time. Christ didn’t die so that we could bring forth bad fruit to testify to what he’s done “for” and “in” us.
    123) Already discussed. But here, I think it’s important that Calvin’s words seem to reveal that “separation” I mentioned between the believer and the Father. Jesus is viewed (in my walk, AFTER reconciliation) as a “shield” so that I will not be consumed by God on law-terms. But God won’t treat the believer harshly – not just because he’s been given this – which is mercy – (similar to the Old Testament experience of just having one’s sins “covered” or “pretermitted”) – but because a new covenant reconciliation has brought them together – man as God intended. The believer has been given mercy so that he could be given GRACE – his sins are not covered – but remitted, removed, cast into the depths of the sea and remembered no more – Christ’s work means God is not at all inclined to treat the believer harshly, because he views him as the spiritual creature “made righteous in Christ” he is, with sins eternally removed by a direct, once-and-for-all application of the blood that brings these merits.
    124)To pray as believers that God won’t enter into judgement with us or bring up the sins he’s already cast into the depths of the sea is a prayer of unbelief. God has entered into judgment with us already – not in our own persons, but in the person of Christ on the cross. And he did that not just so he could continually show us mercy – but so that he could give us grace and the abundant life that is ours in Christ.
    125)Mentioned that…they are God’s gift to us – and if we are walking in the Spirit “delighting in him” as he delights in us, then perhaps that’s reward enough – yet God says no, I’ll reward you super-abundantly according to my grace, for the works that Christ has done in you, as you, as a new creature.
    126) We had to believe we were justified without works when we came to Christ. We had nothing to give him, and everything he abundantly gave to us – blessing us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus – could only come free. We couldn’t earn his love, favour, or blessing – all of which are found in Christ. The faith that is expressing Christ’s life in us, as us, as new creatures with new hearts, is the unique faith that by definition does “good works”. And it is the faith that believes we are justified “without works” – and once justified, remain so “without works“. We indeed received an “undivided Christ” this way, and we live with an undivided Christ this way. The Spirit who (past tense) regenerated us, enables us to live as new creations by confirming the faith he’s (thereby) gifted us with, in our subsequent and abiding “completeness in Christ” – out of which (out of Whom) flows all that we need for life and godliness.
    128)Repentance is a changing of the mind, feelings, will, about sin in the light of Christ and his grace. It is “submitting to God” on new covenant terms at the outset – then it is putting off the misdeeds of the flesh that God may reveal to us, when we relate to him on gospel terms appropriating our full and free forgiveness, having a clear conscience, delighting in his delight in us, loving him because of his great love for us, aware of ourselves as new creatures who when we sin (while responsible for our actions) are no longer doing it out of our spirits (created fully new in holiness and righteousness, joined to the Lord’s) as new creatures – but out of remnants of fleshly patterns of living (that were our whole way of life when we were “in the flesh”), as and when we heed Satan’s external temptations. We fear God by seeking to appropriate the fullness of the new covenant into which we’ve ingrafted. He loves us, he calls us “righteous” – not so we’ve left with a schizophrenic duality that tends to divide our view of our relationship with God, such that it says, ‘in “sanctification” or “living the life” God views me as the wretched sinner I am, but when I feel like that, I can take heart, because God forensically declares me righteous’– but because that is what he’s made us by giving us a new spirit, joined in one with Him Who is Righteousness. He delights in us – our own new persons – aside from our works – so that we might delight in him and mirror his love and glory as derivative, receptive, expressive beings who are restored to God’s intent for man – human jars of clay who contain divine treasure – not just “in us”, nor “with us” but “as us“, by the bond of (“two-ness”)spiritual union. The character of the walk is not meant to be brokenness, sin-consciousness, self-consciousness, praying for forgiveness, constant confession, suppression, sublimation, misery and bondage tempered by consolation – nor a perverse (and dutiful) delight in those things – but an abundant life as Jesus promised that really progressively renews our minds, emotions, will – according to the mind of Christ we’ve been given – rather than just making us feel like we’re engaged in the process by being continually battered with the process (and with which we find consolation and treat it as the clearest proof of our salvation). We multiply our sin that way because that’s living out of the “resources” of the flesh.
    129)Agreed. But as to how to “serve God” and “obey his will” is the point. To obey his will for us is Christ for us, in us, as us – it is the “obedience of faith” that expresses his good works – rather than the “obedience of works” which doesn’t and can’t.
    130)Agreed. But we can’t make our Father sound like an employee. He came that we might have life in abundance by knowing his Son. The fruit is the expected and predetermined result of knowing him who is life, for which he came – the Husband came to marry his bride by sanctifying her to himself at the joining of the two in together – and an abundant fruitful live is the overflow of that love-relationship.



  47. Thanks Phil – I’ll check it out. By the way, I know I owe you a response, but am traveling this week and am a bit behind. Talk to you soon.

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