Reformed Interpretations vs BCBSR

In debated with those of a Reformed Interpretation they often bring up the same verses. This page is to summarize a contrast between their interpretation of such verses and my own. Understand that the principle I use is to interpret the Bible in light of God's character, while Reformed Theology interprets the Bible in light of tradition.

Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
Because Jesus was hung on a tree, therefore he was guilty. (If you wan an innocent person to be guilty simply hang them on a tree and they are automatically guilty) (case in point: A Presbyterian writer, James M. Boice, asserted that when Christ died upon the cross [tree] he, “violated the law — through no fault of his own — [and] he became technically guilty of all of it [the law]” (“Galatians,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank Gaebelein, Ed., Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, Vol. 10, p. 460).)

When a person is hung on a tree he is being treated as if he were accursed of God. It is not that he actually is accursed of God, bu rather that's what those who hung him there are saying.
Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—
"All sinned" is interpreted to mean that all sinned in Adam. Meaning that people, who weren't even alive in Adam's day, and therefore innocent of the crime he committed, are nonetheless imputed with his guilt and thus subject to condemnation.

First of all the very definition of injustice is to reckon people guilty of crimes one knows they didn't actually commit. And since God is just, I discard the Reformed interpretation. Rather the phrase "all sinned" is to be interpreted in light of what Paul previously stated. (Consider also that the verse starts with "Therefore" and so must not be interpreted in isolation to what was previously stated). In Rom 3:23 Paul also declared that all sinned, but from the context there he was referring to behavior, actions, deeds, actual crimes being committed of which he spend a great deal of the first three chapters describing.
Rom 5:18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of
one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

Once again the interpretation is that God reckons guilt of someone else's crime to those who didn't actually commit the crime. This is guilt by association, also known as prejudice.

Once again since God is just, impartial, the Reformed interpretation is discarded. Rather Paul is referring to the end results and not the process. Namely that due to Adam's sin, the human condition is such tha we are born in an environment subject to temptation and corruption. Bu we are not born guilty. We are born with a sinful nature. Complying to that nature makes us guilty. So also with justification. Despite the fact that Christ died so all may live, justification is only given to those who put their faith in Christ, which is our compliance to the gospel.
2Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
God, though knowing that Jesus was innocent, reckoned him guilty of the sins of other people and thereby God reckoned Christ to be a sinner subject to wrath. Conversely by "we might become the righteousness of God" means that God views us as if we had lived Christ's 33 years of righteous living in his place, which is the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us.

For Christ to be subject to unjustified suffering through which he atoned for sin (see the Theory of Atonement), God orchestrated events such that Jesus would be viewed as a sinner in the public eye, but not in God's eyes. The phrase "we might become the righteousness of God" is to be taken in the context of the previous verse which states, "We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." 2Cor 5:20a Tha is, that to the world we are Christ's ambassadors presenting God's righteousness through the presentation and preaching of the gospel.
Is 53:10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer ...
God poured out wrath on Jesus, whom God knew was innocent but pretended him to be guilty.

It was God's will for Jesus to be subjected to unjustified suffering a the hands of evil men so as to offer his life a guilt offering to cancel out sin. God abandoned Jesus at the cross and was not involved at tha point in what evil men carried out in his crucifixion.
Is 53:5,6  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment tha brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
God imputed the guilt of sin to Christ

God laid on Christ the price of our redemption. His unjustified suffering paid for the penalty of our iniquities. (see the Theory of Atonement)
Rom 9:11-13 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad— in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls— she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
People's fate is forced upon them, consigned to them, before they are even born - whether to heaven or hell.

This would imply that God shows partiality. But since the scriptures are clear that God does not show partiality, "For there is no partiality with God" Rom 2:11, who are these two categories alluded to as analogous to Jacob and Esau? This passage is parallel to the passage in Gal 4 which speaks of an allegory of two covenants. "This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants". Here Paul is doing the same with regards to Jacob and Esau, being the New and Old Covenants, and not referring to the double predestination dogma of Reformed Theology, which once again portrays God as unjust, seeing as in that case God would consigning innocent people to hell. For since God is just, he does not condemn people prior to them committing a crime.
Rom 9:18-20 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’"
People are merely puppets, inanimate objects incapable of free will. Bu God holds people accountable for things over which they have no control. God is not just in human terms.

Here Paul is making fun of the Reformed position which denies free will. He's saying that if you were merely inanimate objects as you claim, you would not be capable of criticizing God. But the fact that you do disproves your premise. The fact is Paul had been talking about matters of grace, of which God can freely do at his whim. But these skeptics misread him to be talking about matters of justice. God is not free to violate his judicial nature, just as God cannot lie. God cannot violate his character, whereas under Reformed Theology God can do whatever the hell he wants to do without regards to issues of character.

Sufficiency of the Blood of Christ

Being justified by the blood of Christ is not sufficient to secure eternal life. Heaven must be merited. To achieve such, God deceives Himself into thinking that the believer has lived Christ's 33 years of sinless living.

Justification by the blood of Christ is sufficient to secure eternal life.


The basis of the Reformed position is that of what they refer to as the concept of Federal Headship, which is simply reckoning to God the character of prejudice and partiality. In the case of Adam's descendants it's guilt by association, Adam's guilt being reckoned to his descendants, and in the case of Christ, innocence by association, Christ's sinless life being reckoned to the believers.

In contrast the BCBSR position is that God is not prejudice and is no partial in judgement. He does not lie and does not deceive himself into reckoning that which is false. Rather Christ's blood paid for our sins, cancelling our debt. And as the demands of justice were satisfied on the cross, God was free to exercise his grace in giving us eternal life freely, graciously, and not as a matter of merit as Reformed theology presumes.

Reformed Quote:

Charles Hodge: “Justification includes or conveys a title to eternal life. Pardon is purely negative. It simply removes a penalty. I confers no title to benefits not previously enjoyed. Eternal life, however, is suspended on the positive condition of perfect obedience. The merely pardoned sinner has n o such obedience. He is destitute of what, by the immutable principles of divine government, is the indispensable condition of eternal life. He has no title to the inheritance promised to the righteous. This is not the condition of the believer. The merit of Christ is entitled to the reward. And the believer, being partaker of that merit, shares in that title ... The Church in all ages has recognized this truth. Believers have always fel that they had a title to eternal life. For this they have praised God in the loftiest strains. They have ever regarded it as intuitively true that heaven must be merited. The only question was, Whether that merit was in them or in Christ. Being in Christ, it was a free gift to them; and thus righteousness and peace kissed each other. Grace and justice unite in placing the crown of righteousness on the believer’s head ... As the work of Christ consisted in his doing all that the law of God, or covenant of works, requires for the salvation of men, and as the righteousness is freely offered to every one tha believes, every such believer has as valid a claim to eternal life as he would have had, had he personally done all that the law demands. Thus broad and firm is the foundation which God has laid for the hopes of his people. It is the rock of ages; Jehovah our righteousness.” ( Systematic Theology, vol. III, pp. 129, 164-65)

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources