Justification and Concupiscence

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Introduction

I was recently sent a copy of Ruined Sinners to Reclaim, a hefty book dedicated to a thorough treatment of total depravity. It looks marvelous. If you have any friends who are in the happy happy joy joy camp, you should perhaps think about getting this for them as a 918-page Christmas present. Should steady them up a bit.

The friend who sent it to me suggested that I interact with the Introduction and also with Steven Wedgeworth’s essay, in the light of my interactions with Jared Moore on the whole vexed issue of concupiscence. Having considered it, I think the counsel good. I believe there are still some niggling doctrinal bits that we have not yet found a good place for. And having read those two sections, it appears to me that Augustine hadn’t found a good place for them either.

Allow me first to summarize my position (yet again), and then interact with some of the observations in the book.

A Summary of My Position

Not all temptations are sinful. We know this because the Lord Jesus was tempted, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). And when Adam and Eve were tempted, there was a point in that temptation where they had not yet wavered, meaning that up to that point they were still without blemish. Tempted, but no sin anywhere yet.

After the Fall, all unbelievers are dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-3). Converted believers, although brought to life in Christ, must still deal with their remaining sin, their remaining corruption, while also actively seeking to avoid the commission of actual sins, whether in thought, word, or deed. Reigning sin is to be no more, but remaining sin . . . remains.

The Westminster Confession, in addressing this topic, makes a clear distinction between our original corruption and what it calls “actual transgressions.”

“From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”

WCF 6.4

Wholly inclined to all evil is not the same thing as consenting to any evil, a point to be developed shortly. But there is a clear line where that inclination becomes actual transgression. In the language I have been using, something “sinful” produces something that is “a sin.” An evil tree reveals its nature in the fruit it produces (Matt. 7:17-18). The nature of the tree (sinful) produces fruit in keeping with that nature (sins).

Contrary to the teaching of certain perfectionists, the reality of regeneration subdues this corruption of nature, bringing it under, but does not erase it entirely. It is always there.

“This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself and all the motions thereof are truly and properly sin.”

WCF 6.5

This corruption of nature never goes away in this life. But the grace that is in Christ Jesus deals with it in two different ways—by pardoning and mortifying. Pardoning is found in the grace of justification, and mortifying in the grace of sanctification.

My corruption of nature, before it tries anything, is truly and properly sinful, and after it starts to move around, is “truly and properly sin.” The former can only be dealt with through the imputed righteousness of Christ, that is, through justification. The latter is necessarily part of my sanctification, and requires me, through the Spirit, to put to death my members which are on the earth (Col. 3:5).

So let us imagine a Christian fellow who has just awakened, and he is staring at the ceiling. He has not done anything yet, good or bad. He has been awake for thirty seconds, and the only thing he has done is to try to figure out what the dream of the flying bicycles was about. He has not been tempted to commit “a sin,” and he has not committed “a sin.” In that state, in that condition, does he still require the grace of Christ? The answer is yes, because “this corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain.” He is sinful because of his remaining sin, which is truly and properly sin, and the only possible remedy for such a thing is the imputed righteousness of Christ.

If he attempted to treat that condition as “a sin” requiring mortification, he is going to drive himself mad. The reason it will drive him mad is that this condition “doth remain” no matter what he does. He is as dirty after the shower as he was getting into the shower. This is not the case with “a sin,” meaning an actual transgression. That actually can be mortified, and with success. Progress is possible in sanctification, but there is no such thing as progress in justification.

If a man commits a sin, and seeks forgiveness, the aftermath of the confession is forgiveness and relief. He is seeking forgiveness for something he did. But if he tries the same approach dealing with what he is, he is going to spiral downward into despair. The only relief for the plague of what I am is the imputed righteousness of Christ.

The only thing he should attempt to do with this condition is to rest in the pardon that Christ has provided. Dealing with our corruption of nature > justification. Dealing with the motions arising out of that corruption > sanctification.

So with all of that in place, let us move to the gray area that has occupied us throughout the course of our discussion and debate. Back to our Christian fellow who just woke up. After sorting out the flying bicycle thing, his mind drifts over to Suzy Q, an attractive lady at work who dresses like a sale at Macy’s—20% off. She is a stumbling block to him, and he knows it. He suddenly remembers that it is casual Friday, and she is always bad on casual Friday, and because he is working diligently to deal with this temptation, he starts praying about it immediately.

Now is this situation part of “the motions thereof?” It most certainly is. Is it truly and properly sin? It most certainly is. Is it “a sin?” This is where our disagreement lies. I say no, and Jared Moore says yes. It should not be confessed as a sin, but it should be regarded as an aspect of a corrupted nature (without which she would not be attractive to him), a nature that deserves holy condemnation. The only reason that nature escapes condemnation is because Christ received that condemnation already, and the righteousness of Christ was imputed to him. As he lies there in bed dealing with it, his response should be to thank God for imputed righteousness.

So the issue is not whether concupiscence is sinful. Together with the Reformed tradition, I confess that it is. The issue is what kind of sin it is, and what kind of remedy should be applied to it.

A Few Comments on the Book

The introduction is by David and Jonathan Gibson, editors of the book. They say:

“But to distinguish and then to separate, ’emotional attraction’ (what others might call ‘propensity’ or ‘inclination’) toward sin from sin itself is wrongly to separate what is rightly distinguished. Being attracted to sin and sinning are distinct but inseparable parts of the sin-guilt complex.”

Ruined Sinners to Reclaim, p. 8

This is helpful. The condition of being sinful and the actions of sinning are distinct, but inseparable. Both require cleansing, but not in the same way.

They add:

“The Reformed tradition, however, has always held that the corruption of nature, which is ours on account of original sin, is itself sin as well as the actual transactions we commit that flow from it”

RSTR, p. 8

To which I reply, yes but. Yes, it is all sin, but what kind of sin. What I am and what I do are all part of a piece, but they are not the same thing, even though both are sinful. I am not denying the point, but I do want further distinctions when it comes to application.

Steven Wedgeworth’s essay was really valuable. He begins with concupiscence as it appears in the New Testament (epithumia), which sometimes refers to corrupted desire and other times to innocent desire (e.g. 1 Tim. 3:1). He has an extended discussion of Augustine’s doctrine of it, which contained enough tensions to enable downstream Catholics and Protestants to both claim him. As Wedgeworth treats it, in various ways, Augustine made the distinction that I have been seeking to make.

“Augustine uses the word ‘sin’ in equivocal ways. Some things can be sinful and even be called ‘sin,’ but yet not be ‘a sin’—a sin in the sense of a particular actual sin.”

RSTR, p. 640

And then there is this:

“Considered simply in itself, then, concupiscence is a weakness, a corrupt desire, and it will lead to sin unless God intervenes; but the sin, and thus the guilt, requires consent”

RSTR, p. 641

I would only add that consent is what is required for there to be the guilt for “a sin.” I want to maintain that there is a different sort of guilt that every sinner has for what he is by nature, a guilt that can only be addressed by justification.

Wedgeworth goes on to treat the development of Augustine’s thought in Luther and Lutheran theology, and then on into the Reformed tradition, best represented by the WCF 6, already quoted above.

All in all, I found this chapter most illuminating and helpful. The one place I thought that required a lot more treatment was the discussion of the Lord’s temptation.

“Jesus can indeed sympathize with the experience of temptation, but only external temptation, since he was always ‘yet without sin.’ He does not, therefore, share the internal temptations characterized by concupiscence. Given this, we may say that Jesus sympathizes with us as humans going through temptation, but he never experienced inordinate desires or misdirected loves.”

RSTR, p. 666

I don’t believe this use of external and internal is helpful at all. It is of course true that Jesus did not experience the internal churn that a fallen sinner does—He did not experience inordinate desire or misdirected loves. But when He was tempted to misdirect His love, was there really no internal aspect to this at all? If all of it is simply external, in what sense can it even be called a temptation?

If I were to drive by a billboard inviting me to drive to the nearest Indian reservation in order to gamble away my paycheck, and the impulse to gamble in that way was left entirely out of my makeup, and so the invitation simply bounced off my forehead, in what sense could I drive home and tell my wife “I sure was tempted”? I was only tempted externally in that I saw the billboard. But that is not temptation, and far from giving me sympathy with those who struggle with gambling fever, it would be likely to have the reverse effect. I would want to say to them, “What’s the fuss about?”

Jesus fasted, and He was hungry (Matt. 4:2). That was internal. It was not an internal corruption, but it was still internal. This means that more distinctions are necessary in order to advance the discussion. There was an internal appeal involved with Adam’s temptation before he fell, and so it must be possible to feel the force of an appeal to sin without in any way sinning. That is what Adam should have experienced, and what Jesus did in fact experience.

This is an important discussion, and so I am leaving the comments open. We need trenchant comments about the relationship of temptation and sin, and so please do not derail the discussion. If you want to register your negative assessment of the Jews, I would invite you to take it elsewhere. We need discussion about sin here, not more illustrations of it.

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Ken
Ken
6 days ago

. . . it must be possible to feel the force of an appeal to sin without in any way sinning. That is what Adam should have experienced, and what Jesus did in fact experience. I agree 100%, and it makes me wonder if an aversion to this very idea is historically what led to the development of the Catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary. Did people think that Jesus’s humanity couldn’t possibly be such that he could even have the kinds of thoughts/desires/instincts that would result in sin if he acted on them, therefore his mother must… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Ken
Lance
Lance
5 days ago
Reply to  Ken

But Christ wasn’t born with a sin nature, or as Doug has pointed out he could be called sinful.

Ken
Ken
5 days ago
Reply to  Lance

That kinda depends on how “sin nature” is defined. If it’s defined as something inherently implies guilt, then we should certainly not impute it to Christ. On the other hand, if “sin nature” (or maybe some other term, if “sin nature” is problematic) is defined as merely the deficiency in human nature that makes us prone to experience desires that would lead to sin if cultivated and acted upon, then we must say that Christ took on this deficiency when he became incarnate as a descendant of Adam.

Nicholas
Nicholas
5 days ago
Reply to  Lance

And yet we know that, even prior to the imputation on the cross, Christ did experience the effects of the curse, since he could, y’know, be wounded and starved and exhausted and killed. However, Jesus does say that he would give up his life on his own authority, so we know that his participation in this part of the curse was entirely voluntary. Of course, from Phil. 2 we learn that the whole humiliating affair of the incarnation was a voluntary act. Maybe, then, the same could apply to the other parts of the curse? This would reconcile how he… Read more »

Brendon
Brendon
5 days ago
Reply to  Ken

My first thought was Jesus had to be without all sin in anticipation of becoming sin in total on the cross. To say otherwise you must conclude what He accomplished on the cross is less or diluted.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
5 days ago
Reply to  Ken

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception wasn’t promulgated until the late 1800s and was met with dismay by quite a few Catholics at the time. The church’s greatest theologians–Augustine, Scotus, Aquinas–didn’t all see this the same way. But I can tell you how it fits with historic Catholic teaching about original versus actual sin and the sinlessness of Christ. Catholics believe, with Augustine, that the soul infused by God into each of us at the moment of conception is corrupted by human flesh. This original sin is washed away by baptism in which we share in the redemptive act of… Read more »

Amanda Wells
Amanda Wells
2 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I think that pondering the story of the finding of Jesus in the temple could be a window into this discussion. Especially as a mother of a twelve year old boy, I am humbled to think that Jesus not being where he “should have known” he should be was not sinful in any way. He is not portrayed as bring disobedient, and His parents are not condemned by Scripture as being irresponsible.

Josh
5 days ago

I’m reminded of this passage from Augustine’s Confessions: “I will love you, Lord, and give thanks to you and confess to your Name, because you have forgiven me for such wicked and abominable deeds. I owe it to your grace and to your mercy that you have melted my sins like ice. To your grace I owe also whatever evil things I did not do: for what was I not capable of doing, I who loved even crime for no reason at all? And I acknowledge that I have been forgiven for all these things, both those things I did… Read more »

Aaron
Aaron
5 days ago

Matthew Roberts’ ‘Pride’ discusses the historic and Reformed understanding of concupiscence at length. Very important for sorting through these questions.

Wanderer
Wanderer
5 days ago

The world is burning down, and Christians are writing thousand page books about angels and pins. I guess it’s a nice break from condemning people who oppose the Gaza Holocaust.

Chris
Chris
5 days ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Except that they really oppose the slaughter.

Jane
Jane
5 days ago
Reply to  Chris

They oppose slaughter of one side and abet those who promote the slaughter of the other side.

And yes I know it cuts both ways but that doesn’t make what Doug said any less true.

Chris
Chris
5 days ago
Reply to  Jane

Yeah, I don’t drink kool aid, so I don’t see it that way. This kind of talk makes y’all look very not OK. You do understand there can be good people independent of your superstition?

J.F. Martin
J.F. Martin
5 days ago
Reply to  Chris

You might try some, you certainly enjoy hanging out at the kool-aid stand. What are good people independent of Christ?

Jane
Jane
4 days ago
Reply to  Chris

None of that has anything to do with the fact that the Hamas organization that rules Palestine wants to slaughter Israeli non-combatants and even those who sympathize with them and has in fact done so, and that is a legitimate reason for a reasonable and moral person to oppose them, whatever you think of the other side.

Last edited 4 days ago by Jane
Trey
Trey
5 days ago

Doug, I watched 2 conversations you had with JM about this. I don’t get how his perspective about the motion of sin lives out in real life. It seems like one could never do anything except confess the movement of sin. What about presenting your members to God as alive from the dead resulting in sanctification?

DJ
DJ
5 days ago
Reply to  Trey

I saw one of the conversations and had a similar question. It would be nice for him to discuss what that looks like in real life. Seems it would lead to a never ending inward focus.

Bryan
Bryan
5 days ago

It would seem the connecting point between Temptation and Sin is as follows: Temptation = “desire + opportunity to fulfill the desire in an unlawful manner” Sin (as it relates to Temptation) = “good desire + fulfilling desire in a manner that is unlawful” OR “evil desire + acting on the evil desire” Our “evil (inordinate) desires” are always a sin, whether we act on them or not. But our “good desires” can become a Temptation when there is an opportunity to fulfill them in a manner that is unlawful. When we act in such a way, that is the… Read more »

J.F. Martin
J.F. Martin
5 days ago

Sadly, whenever we come across this word in Bible study, we spend as much time remembering how to pronounce concupiscence as we do digging into what it means. Part of my working philosophy about the Fall is that it resulted in the sons of Adam being born with God-sized holes our hearts. Then as the result of nature and nurture and the multivariable-ness of life experience, we are drawn to fill that hole with something. All the idols and addictions and ‘isms’ of the world can never really satisfy; but oh how we try. Justification put a Holy Spirit magnet… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
5 days ago

In Christ was the unbreakable righteousness of God joined fully with the breakable frailty of humanity but not the brokenness of humanity.

We are, if you will, bruised reeds in a storm (a broken world under the power of an active tempter), our breaking is inevitable. Christ was as much a reed as us, in the same storm, but unbruised, with breaking neither eventual nor inevitable.

James Claypool
James Claypool
5 days ago

I think it is helpful to look at the times Jesus was tempted: in the wilderness to command stones to bread to assuage his hunger, to worship satan to receive the kingdom (of satan), to cast himself from the height as a sign of being Messiah; by Peter to forsake the cross as being contrary to being Messiah; to accept the drugged wine in order to dull the suffering on the cross; the multiple attempts to show a sign or entangle him in words; some by implication–Matthew 23:37 or in the garden of Gethsemane. Could Jesus the Son of God… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
5 days ago

Full blown 5 point Calvinism muddies the waters on how you think of Jesus’ relationship to original sin and total depravity pretty significantly. Molinists or Armenians or Open Theists just don’t run into the same kinds of logic knots. To a purist Calvinist, it is not possible for a human to react positively to Scripture or to show faith without God initiating that on his behalf. That is the primary obstacle man faces. So then, how in any real sense could one say Jesus shared our obstacles when, being God, He had no such limitation on faith or believing Scripture… Read more »

Rob
Rob
5 days ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Just hearing or reading “it’s a mystery” would have been way more satisfying.

Last edited 5 days ago by Rob
Jill Smith
Jill Smith
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob

That was the nuns’ approach when they got weary of answering questions about the Trinity “You’ll understand if you get to heaven. If.”

Rob
Rob
5 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Sin would be a mystery if I had to read 918 pages to understand it. I’ll stick with sin being the transgression of God’s law. This is the problem with reformed theology. The attempt to intellectualize everything and then it all becomes a mystery.

Last edited 5 days ago by Rob
Dave
Dave
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Sin is a transgression of God’s laws. The reformed theology is still standing firm on the Bible while my Southern Baptist friends don’t have the ability to say that public schools are indoctrinating children in the ways of the world and not as required by scripture to raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. They will not spend a penny on homeschool or private Christian schooling. The different theology also led many of my friends to not save for retirement because the rapture is right hear and they will be pulled out of any trouble. They are… Read more »

Rob
Rob
4 days ago
Reply to  Dave

I would not tout the SBC either. Home schooled our children and glad we did. Not pre-trib because scripture doesn’t teach it. In the reformed camp for five years and now out. I guess I don’t fit either mold. The Kingdom will be granted to “children” in terms of faith, not “adults.” Reformed theology has been systematized to the point that it kills the spirit. Would never judge an individual’s standing because that is what I’m told not to do. But a system, I think that is fair to test. I love searching out the truth (doctrine) because it does tend… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by Rob
chris
chris
4 days ago
Reply to  Rob

amen

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
4 days ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

The problem with both Armenians and Calvinists is that they have difficulty embracing the power of “and”. God is in complete control, and man has agency. My only quibble is with your inclusion of open theists with Armenians and Molinists. Reasonable people can differ on the finer points of the latter two, but open theism is nothing more than a giant exercise in question-begging idolatry, itself a logic knot in its own universe of stupid. That said, I’m on board with your point. I chuckle at the irony of the TULIP brigade in full flower. In their eternal quest to… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
2 days ago

I didn’t include open theism as an endorsement of open theism. I included open theism as another example of a view that doesn’t have this specific problem I was discussing in the post. The trouble I have with commentary about and around open theism is that very rarely are both people discussing the same thing when they use the term, not unlike “Christian Nationalism”. I’m not an open theist, but think most criticisms of it fall flat because those criticisms take only half of the claims of the open theist, ignore the other half of the claims of the open… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
22 hours ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Open theists claim the future is unknowable. This fallacious assumption is the foundation on which their entire edifice is built. They then go on to fashion a Jesus in their own image, who like them is unable to know the future. This is idolatry. The Bible, God’s revelation about Himself, mocks the open theist with example after example of God’s foreknowledge. You’d think the proponents of open theism would be embarrassed at being discredited so thoroughly, but far too often pride is more powerful than good sense, so they desperately try to rationalize away the obvious. Demolish the foundation, demolish… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
14 hours ago

You’re sharing the same misunderstanding of the claims of Open Theism that I’m criticizing. They don’t claim the future is unknowable. They claim the future doesn’t exist. It is not a physical object. An omniscient knows what I’m thinking. An omniscient being doesn’t know what I’m garblefloobing, because garblefloobing does not exist. Open Theists claim the future is like garblegloobing. It is not information. It is nonformation. You can say a whole lot of things about the incoherency of Open Theism. Calling it denying God’s omniscience indeed falls flat because it simply isn’t true. They believe precisely the same thing… Read more »

Last edited 14 hours ago by Justin Parris
Richard
Richard
5 days ago

Although it seems clear that we can’t get behind our evil desires to fight them in quite the same way that we might resist acting on them, we would probably all agree that justification has the common effect of securing peace with God in respect to both sinful desires and actions. Likewise, although its probably true that we find it easier to measure our own sanctification (and others’) from the outward performance of good works or avoidance of actual sins, sanctification also progressively changes our affections so that we more and more love what God loves and hate what he… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by Richard
Joshua Butcher
4 days ago

The Westminster Larger Catechism defines sin as “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.” It is the “want of conformity to” that is in view with concupiscence–our sinful nature does not conform to the law of God, but stands against it. But it is hard for me to imagine that Jesus could experience a desire out of conformity to the Law of God and still remain free from sin. I find it easier to reconcile Jesus’s experience of temptation as something offered toward the fulfillment… Read more »

Jared Leonard
Jared Leonard
4 days ago
Reply to  Joshua Butcher

Doesn’t this beg the question, then, of how it can be said of Jesus that He was tempted “in every respect” as we?

Joshua Butcher
4 days ago
Reply to  Jared Leonard

Here’s where what I said interprets that phrase: I think it is more precise to say that Jesus was tempted in the state of human weakness yet without sin, that is, without allowing the occasions of his human weakness to have any power over his desire to obey God. Jesus experienced temptation in human weakness (hunger, thirst, fatigue, time, space, limited experience, etc.), but not in corruption. Enticements that arise from our corrupt nature are not of the same category as the temptations of Jesus—in other words, I don’t think the Hebrews use of the term “temptation” is the same… Read more »

Jennifer Mugrage
4 days ago

I don’t get how this description is confusing to anyone who has struggled with self-condemnation, feeling hatred and shame for their own sin nature, and trying to confess and recriminate it out of themselves. It quickly becomes apparent that this attitude itself is sinful (pride, self-absorption) and that it makes everything worse but fast. The only solution is to repent of your pride, receive Christ’s imputed righteousness without any foolish resentment over the fact that you need it, and to fervently pray for the ability to rest in it, whenever you again get bent out of shape over the fact… Read more »

Mark
Mark
4 days ago

James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 
“Tempted” is being carried away and enticed (internal or external) by his own lust/desire (neutral or evil). But “sin” is accenting to the results of being carried away and enticed. Jesus was “carried away” to the pinnacle of the temple and to a high mountain and “enticed,” but never sinned.

Joshua Butcher
4 days ago
Reply to  Mark

The example of temptation in James 1:14 cannot apply to Jesus, because James says the enticement is when a man is “being carried away” “by his own lust.” The Greek word for temptation used there is the same word used Satan’s temptation of Jesus in Matthew, but Strong’s indicates it can be used negatively (tempt to sin) or positively (test or try).

Mark
Mark
4 days ago
Reply to  Joshua Butcher

Of course it can apply to Jesus. There has to be something internal (a desire) in order for that desire to be “pushed” into a temptation, like Doug said. Jesus is human, and his humanity is being tried. Being “carried away” doesn’t have to mean something like having no self-control. The text in Matthew 4 talks about Jesus being “taken” — and by the devil, no less. The “enticement” by the devil is probing the legitimate desire on Jesus’s behalf to have assurance that He’s the son of God (pinnicle temptation) and the legitimate desire to possess His Father’s inheritance… Read more »

William
William
4 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Yeah I think the scripture makes a distinction between that kind of internal temptation, as oppsed external when someone else is tempting you.

William
William
4 days ago

In your gambling example, the billboard May appeal internally to his desire to receive wealth, which is not sinful in itself.

However if he began to desire to waste his money pursuing it, then it becomes sin.
So obviously I favor Jared Moore’s view here.
If Jesus even for a moment desired to do something He knew for certain God was against, then it was a sinful desire.

Jesus temptation could not have been an internal desire to act contrary to God.

Last edited 4 days ago by William Jones
Jon Jenkins
Jon Jenkins
1 day ago

Doug, in your mind is there correlation between the explosion of sexual sin in the church (especially homosexual sin) and the lack of understanding between the work of justification and sanctification? It seems to me that many who have dealt with (or who are dealing with) these sins have not accepted the fact of their total depravity. Perhaps they have not seen that not only their sexual life but all of their life is in opposition to God righteousness and so have missed the need, then, for Christ’s imputed righteousness (justification) as remedy. It seems that the pietistic church (in… Read more »