Positional and Practical Righteousness
"Now we practically sin every day, right,
Positional and Practical Righteousness
to the dismay of those who try to make themselves a license for sin, the
Bible says that we are to be practically righteous, not practically sinners.
Our true character is shown by our conduct. If it was true that we could continue to live as sinners and still be classified as righteous, John could not make this distinction. True conversion not only is intelligent but dramatically effects' our lifestyle.
The word translated right is
the same root word as righteous and is the same righteousness imputed to
believers in Romans three and four, real practical righteousness. Some will
insist that the gospel makes no provision for making us righteous, but as we
see in this passage there is a clear connection. A connection that insists
that one is useless without the other.
Some ministers will go so
far as to leave you with the impression that the only practical difference
between a Christian and an unbeliever is a set of purely intellectual or
emotional issues. This is a grave error. The scripture is plain: your
conduct reveals whether you're righteous or of the devil. I'm not saying you
have to work to receive Christ's righteousness. I am saying that someone who
has received Christ's righteousness will live as a child of the light and
bear the fruit of righteousness. Though all of us can still sin,
the standard we should measure ourselves against is righteousness.
The Bible teaches that;
In the theology Hank holds to, Christ's righteousness is not imputed to us in a way that would purify us from all wickedness.
Rather in Hanks view we can keep much wickedness in our lives, only now God is blind to it. Therefore we can continue living the life of a sinner while being viewed as righteous.
Hank told me that:
This is truly prostituting the bible, 1 John 3:7-9 would have to be mutilated to fit in with this theology. Wouldn't the Devil laugh to read-He who lives sinfully is righteous even as he is righteous? He who is sinful is practically of the devil, but God cannot see that and sees you as righteous, if you believe Hank's theology, the whole idea is revolting.
Despite Hanegraaff insisting that we can not be practically righteous, he himself frequently explains one of the reasons why we can and should be practically righteous, while being blind to the implications. Hank has pointed out that the Faith teachers have banked on Isaiah 53:5 as a guarantee of physical healing. In his reply to this he has on several occasions pointed out that the healing referred to in this verse is spiritual rather then physical. In the context of pointing this out he often quotes 1 Peter 2:24-25. The truth is Christ has provided for our spiritual healing so we might "die to sin and live to righteousness".
"Isaiah 53:5 say's by his stripes we are healed so the question is what does it mean to say that I am Healed? What does the word rapha actually mean, and the word rapha actually means that we are healed not physically of necessity but spiritually. You determine the meaning of rapha in this context by what the broader context of what Isaiah is trying to say really is, right. and if you look at the context, in the broader context you find out what is being talked about is spiritual healing. What are we being healed of? Well were being healed of transgressions and Iniquities . . . You can take this beyond Isaiah 53 you can take this to 1 Peter 2:24-25 Because really you have peter rephrasing what Isaiah said. Peter said 'he himself bore our sins on his body so that we might die to sin but live to righteousness, by his wounds we have been healed. You were like sheep that had gone astray, but you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls'. Now Peter's theme is absolutely crystal clear, Christ bore our sin's not our sicknesses." (3)
Hank made the same point in his book.(4) The point I am trying to make is this. Some people seem to be teaching Christ bore our sin's so that we could live in sin (practically sinners ) but be considered righteous. This is not the word of God. The bible teaches he bore our sins so we could die to sin and live to righteousness. It amazes me that Hank could quote this verse and yet so often teach the opposite. This is how we should live.
Instruments of Righteousness
Beyond a doubt the word righteous does imply a title or position, but it is only applicable as related to practice. IE a ruler rules one who does not is not really a ruler. I am not at odds with the statement that we are positionally righteous; I believe it, but we should also be practically righteous. We are told to offer ourselves to God as "Instruments of righteousness" in Rom. 6:13. If someone says they're born again, and have received Christ's righteousness, he should bear the fruit of a practical righteousness. This is clearly the result of a true work of Christ in the heart. This righteousness was received when we turned from sin and put our faith in Christ.
We received justification through eternal redemption (being set free from sin) Romans 3:24. We entered the new covenant:
While Calvin seemed to of felt content promoting a justification that would remove consequences while only partially changing the heart God is not. While the blood of goats and bulls only dealt with the external, the blood of Christ does much more.
The Scripture makes it clear
that, while the old covenant only made provision for outward cleansing, the
new covenant in Christ has provided for inward cleansing, that we might live
Did Christ Die in our Place, or Obey in our Place? (See also Justification)
When the Bible speaks about the gospel, Christ's vicarious atonement and redemption are central; in contrast, when Hank speaks about the gospel, the main emphasis is on what he considers Christ's substitutionary obedience.
This sounds very nice, but as we examine this idea, you can see the wolf under the sheep's clothing. We both agree that Christ's death was vicarious; but his life is imparted - not substituted - in the sense that he understands it (Rom 8:11). To quote Finney:
Why would someone invent
such a philosophy as this? The Bible does represent righteousness as being
imputed to us, but those who hold to this doctrine seem to want
righteousness without redemption. It seems that they have devised an
understanding of imputed righteousness that eliminates the need for true
repentance. Perhaps this relieves them from a sense of obligation; perhaps
this allows them to continue in sin without a deep sense that this is
offensive to God. Whatever the reason, in their understanding obedience can
be looked at with fondness as a nice ideal, while at the same time be
rejected as unnecessary.
It is foolish to say that he obeyed in our place for him to do that he would have to live in our place. This would not make us practically righteous it would make us practically nonexistent, I hope you are getting the picture. The basis for this misunderstanding lies in a principle of responsibility.
If a man named John sent flowers to his wife, though another delivers them he gets the credit, because he is the agent responsible for the act. If John sends an assassin to kill his wife, both have guilt. In this case John may not have pulled the trigger but he is responsible for the murder because he initiated it. In the first case the delivery driver acted (obeyed) in his place, In the second case the assassin obeyed in his place. A more biblical example is found when we consider how David arranged for Uriahs death. This principle is at the basis for Hank's belief that Christ obeyed (Lived his life) in our place. The principle is valid, but only for the person who appointed the act. In the case of our Lord it was the Father who appointed him;
In the sense above mentioned the Son acted in his Fathers place. Both roles portray pure virtue, and not one of us can take credit for what they have done. Do I need add more? It is plain that Jesus did not do our will he did the Fathers.
1. Hank Hanegraaff, Live program, (San Juan Capistrano, CA: The Bible Answer man Broadcast) 8 September 95.
2. Hank Hanegraaff, Live program, (San Juan Capistrano, CA: The Bible Answer man Broadcast), 1 March 95.
3. Hank Hanegraaff, Live program, (San Juan Capistrano, CA: The Bible Answer man Broadcast), 5 October 95.
4. Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1993), 250.
5. Hank Hanegraaff, Live program, (San Juan Capistrano, CA: The Bible Answer man Broadcast,) 19 April 1995.
6. Charles Finney, Finney's Systematic Theology (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 1976),
"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."