As I (and others) see it, here’s what the FV “gains” by not distinguishing between dGrace that applies to us, and uGrace/mGrace that might have applied to Adam 1 and/or 2. FV sees a church in which easy-believists are saying, “Adam and Christ had to work, because they didn’t have grace; and because we Christians have grace, we don’t have to work.” FV’s remedy for this is to deny work and affirm grace with Adam and Christ, so they can point out, “look, Adam and Christ had to work for their ‘grace’, so you do too!”
So what’s the big problem? When you push up on grace, necessarily the importance of works must go down, and vice versa (Rom 11:6). Thus, in the FV scheme, it becomes less important that Christ was perfectly obedient. This is seen most clearly by many (most?) of the FV mens’ denial of the imputation of Christ’s active obedience. “Sure,” they concede, “Christ had to be perfectly obedient in order to be an acceptable sacrifice (and God imputes that satisfaction to us), but we do not actually receive the obedience of Christ’s life.”
Kline described this perfectly (even before there was an FV), in a 1994 article rebutting the denial of merit in the Covenant of Works:
They want to affirm the atonement accomplished through Jesus’ passive obedience (thereby accepting the idea of negative, punitive justice), but they fail totally in their handling of his active obedience. There is simply no room in their system for a divine justice functioning positively in reward of obedience, no room for an accomplishment of righteousness by anybody that might be imputed to somebody else. The resultant tendency is to confuse justification and sanctification in a new legalism in which the role of good works, which was not permitted entrance through the front door, now sneaks in the back door. What Christ could not do is left for us to do, somehow.
The irony of all this is that a position that asserts a continuum of “grace” everywhere ends up with no genuine gospel grace anywhere. An approach that starts out by claiming that a works principle operates nowhere ends up with a kind of works principle everywhere.
Clark also has their number:
They all want to blur the consequences of the fall, they wish to blur the lines between pre-lapsarian and post-lapsarian life and they all diminish the finished work of Christ for us and set it up so that we must contribute to our own justification.
Of course, the “logic” of their argument falls apart when distinctions are made between senses of “grace” and the disanalogy between Adam and
us (due to the extent of the Fall) is made clear.
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