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What God Requires, Christ Provides

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If justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal. 2:21)

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." ... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. (Gal. 3:10, 13)
Historically, Protestants have believed that the Bible teaches that our salvation depends on what Christ has accomplished for our pardon and our perfection. We accept by faith his substitution for us in two senses: in his final suffering and death, he was condemned and cursed so that we may be pardoned (see Gal. 3:13; Rom. 8:3); and in his whole life of righteousness culminating in his death, he learned obedience so that we may be saved (see Heb. 5:8-9). His death crowns his atoning sufferings that propitiate God's wrath against us (see Rom. 3:24-25; 5:6-9), but it also crowns his life of perfect righteousness-God's righteousness-that is then imputed to us who believe (see 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-22; 4:6, 11; 5:18-19).

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1 [ Back ] John Piper's quotation of Charles Hodge comes from Hodge's commentary on 2 Corinthians (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, n.d.), pp. 150-151. His quotation from William Wilberforce is from Wilberforce's A Practical View of Christianity, ed. Kevin Charles Belmonte (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), p. 66. His quotation from Francis Turretin is found in Turretin's Institutes of Elenctic Theology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1993), Vol. 2, p. 452; and the quotation from Jonathan Edwards is found in The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987), Vol. 1, p. 683.

John Piper is pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis, Minnesota) and founder of Desiring God Ministries (Minneapolis, Minnesota).

Issue: "The Heart of the Gospel: Paul's Message Of Grace in Galatians" Sept./Oct. 2003 Vol. 12 No. 5 Page number(s): 18-23

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