Vos on the Relationship of the Mystical to the Forensic

Very interesting stuff at the OLTS

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  1. Lee Gatiss is not FV nor NPP.

    Themelios is overseen by Dr. D.A. Carson and Dr. Carl Trueman, neither of whom are friendly to the NPP or FV.

  2. Warren,

    Thanks for the link. I am surprised I hadn’t come across it earlier. Great stuff by Gatiss.

  3. Not to get way off-topic but I have really liked the things coming out of England including the aforementioned Dr. Trueman as well as Peter Williams, Simon Gathercole, and others.

  4. Just so we are clear on what Vos says elsewhere:

    “The Christian knows that he is a party in God’s covenant and as such he has all things and spans at any one moment the whole orbit of grace, both in time and for eternity. By faith he is a member of the covenant, and that faith has a wide outlook, a comprehensive character, which not only points to justification but also to all the benefits which are his in Christ. Whereas the Lutheran tends to view faith one-sidedly – only in its connection with justification – for the Reformed Christian it is saving faith in all the magnitude of the word. According to the Lutheran, the Holy Spirit first generates faith in the sinner who temporarily still remains outside of union with Christ; then justification follows faith and only then, in turn does the mystical union with the Mediator take place. Everything depends on this justification, which is losable, so that the believer only gets to see a little of the glory of grace and lives for the day, so to speak.

    The covenant outlook is the reverse. One is first united to Christ, the Mediator of the covenant, by a mystical union, which finds its conscious recognition in faith. By this union with Christ all that is in Christ is simultaneously given. Faith embraces all this too; it not only grasps the instantaneous justification, but laid hold of Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, as his rich and full Messiah. … Therefore faith may not be confined within the limited circle of one piece of the truth and its gaze fixed on that all the time; it must have in view, freely and broadly, the whole plan of salvation.” (p256)


  5. It seems the problem with Gatiss’ formulation is that he has failed to consider the three aspects of “union with Christ,” namely, DECRETAL, FEDERAL/LEGAL, and VITAL/EXISTENTIAL/MYSTICAL.

    The enjoyment of the benefits of Christ (EXISTENTIAL) must indeed be posterior to justification as justification is by faith, not by election. Therefore, the encroachment in time of the DECRETAL and FEDERAL union is the justification brought on by faith produced by the Spirit.

    This means that prior to justification, the elect man has not been enjoying the benefits of his DECRETAL and FEDERAL union. This enjoyment comes after justification when the VITAL/EXISTENTIAL/MYSTICAL union is forged.

  6. But Vos is not saying that justification is BASED on the mystical is he? Isn’t he more concerned with the idea of time? He’s complaining against the Lutherans for making a separation in time between justification and union, but that doesn’t mean he believes the mystical provides the basis for the legal. Is that a good reading of Vos’s concern?

    As I read him he is objecting to the view that justification can be had without sanctification. But as I think, all these things are like a Christmas tree — everything lights up at once, but we know where the power comes from.

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