Reformation Day Sermon 10/28/12

Of Sinners and Saints

How did you become a sinner?


Original Sin: A Study in Evangelical TheologyDavid Parker


The doctrine of original sin which refers to the ‘morally vitiated condition in which we find ourselves at birth as members of a sinful race’ is commonly regarded as one of the most difficult parts of Christian theology. With talk of such matters as imputing Adam’s sin to the race and our real incorporation in Adam, the doctrine seems to many to be a good example of some of the worst features of medieval scholastic speculation.

Some theologians would go further and regard it as ‘offensive’ and quite ‘untenable in its traditional forms.’


In an essay in The Fundamentals Thomas Whitelaw lists a number of key Scriptural passages in support of the doctrine, and then concludes:


If these passages do not show that the Bible teaches the doctrine of original, or transmitted and inherited, sin, it is difficult to see in what clearer or more emphatic language the doctrine could have been taught. The truth of the doctrine may be challenged by those who repudiate the authority of Scripture; that it is a doctrine of Scripture can hardly be denied.


How did you become a sinner? By imputation of Adam’s first sin: Which yields a life of increasing ungodliness, independent of the influences of the Holy Spirit.

Does not seem fair! Not democratic! How do we know it is true? The Bible!

[12] Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—[13] for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. [14] Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

[19] For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners

Every child conceived in the womb is a sinner by constitution! That’s why they commit sins as soon as they become cognizant and have the motor skills to do so. Similar to venomous snakes…cute, but they will bite you and inject venom as soon as they gain the maturity—-by nature!

How do you become a saint? By imputation of Second Adam’s righteousness: Which yields a new life of increasing holiness in dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

A leading evangelical in the Church of England- Bp. Tom Wright, has called this imputation “legal fiction”

He says it is not possible for a judge to pass his personal righteousness across the courtroom to a criminal. The mistake he makes is a category mistake. A human judge may be compared to God but important differences remain.

1. God is not a mere human!

2. God is able to declare things creatively by his Word!

(Genesis 1:3-26 ESV)

  • And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
  • And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.
  • And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
  • And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.
  • And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.”
  • And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.
  • And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.
  • Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And man became a living soul.

(Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV)

  • Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son (the Word), whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

BUT, God could not declare us righteous without a legal basis. It would be pure fiction (a lie) to call me a saint “holy one, righteous” without a legal ground.>> Perfect life, sacrificial cursed  judgment of death “cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”

This declaration of you and me as righteous also does not seem fair!

Do you want fair? Or do you want to be saved?

THANK GOD this RIGHTEOUSNESS is not “legal fiction” but Legal imputation of a real alien righteousness-

-the record of Christ’s perfect obedience and sacrificial atoning death is imputed in place of my disobedience. Without the legal ground of the righteousness of a legal representative to absorb my sin and clothe me with his perfect record, I am hopeless!~

Rom 5 [15] But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. [16] And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. [17] For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

          [18] Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. [19] For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. [20] Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, [21] so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Summary: this could not work in a human courtroom because human judges are mere creatures- limited, but God is able to legally declare by creative fiat what is impossible for humans.


(2 Corinthians 5:16-21 ESV)

 [16] From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.

We don’t look at people the same way they are viewed in the world: children as ornaments, neighbors and colleagues as assets. We don’t view each other in the church as mere human SINNERS>>but as Saints, Elect, brothers and sisters, co-heirs of all that Christ gives!

We who are Simul Iustus et Peccator – require special treatment. Guidance, government, support, reproof, correction, training in practical righteousness

??Wait a minute, why do we need to be trained in righteousness if we have already be declared righteous? Because we are>> “Simul iustus et peccator”

Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.

He sees Christ, not as a mere human, prophet, etc. but as the creator and redeemer of this world! NOW WE ARE IN Christ

[17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. [18] All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. [20] Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [21] For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

That’s justification: He made Him sin…we have become the righteousness of God!

How do we get this Righteousness?  FAITH!!!!! Described here->>             (Romans 4:13-25 to 5:1 ESV)

The original example of a justified sinner.

For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief  (unfaith) made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is trusting God’s provision! Clinging to Christ!

Faith does not exist in isolation.

(1 Timothy 3:15 ESV)

Elders……Deacons….   I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

The church as founded and ordered by Christ her head is not besides this faith, not an extra-curricular option to this faith!

The sacraments are not incidental or unessential to this faith but comport with this faith and nourish it.

Confession of Faith 25

2. The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

3. Unto this catholic visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.


The core remains by faith only in Christ only who has ordered and constituted the church and sacraments empowered by the Spirit for the life of faith while we are “Simul iustus et peccator.”

How did you become a sinner?  By imputation of the sin of another.

How do you become a saint? By imputation of Second Adam’s righteousness received by faith. Which yields a life of increasing holiness in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, a new life………. in the church the household of faith…the pillar and buttress of truth.                        Amen.