Reformed Theology


The Doctrine of Man - Anthropology
(Doctrines of Anthropology, Sin, and Soteriology Inclusive)


By James White

I. Man as Creature. Man has a derivative nature - Acts 17:28.

A. Man is finite
B. Man is dependent
C. Man must receive revelation

II. Man in the Image of God

A. The Image as Personality
B. The Image as Intellect
C. The Image as differing from animals

III. Man as Sinful Being

A. Sin as rebellion, denial of God’s true Being
B. Consequences of sin:

1. Ezekiel 18:4
2. James 2:10
3. Romans 1:16-20

a. Still live in revelation
b. Suppress / Deny reality of revelation
c. Become self-oriented

4. Romans 3:10-18

a. Total depravity
b. ouk ho ekzeton ton theon - none

5. Ephesians 2:1-3
6. Colossians 2:13-14

C. Meaning of “Dead in Sin”

1. Does not get rid of the Image of God
2. Affects entire being of man, including the mind and knowledge
3. Places will in bondage to sin

a. Nature of the will
b. Decision process - choice between desires

4. Makes man morally unable to choose the good

a. John 6:44
b. John 6:65

5. Makes “works salvation” an impossibility

a. Unable to keep the law

1) Romans 3:27-28, 4:1-8, 10:1-4, Gal. 3:10-11, 5:1
2) Isaiah 64:6, Matthew 22:1-14

b. James 2:20-24? Genesis 15:6 (Genesis 22)
c. Philippians 2:12? 2:13, 1 Thessalonians 2:13
d. Matthew 7:22? John 6:28-29

6. Dependent upon God’s grace

a. charis: Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:1-10, Galatians 2:16, 21, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 2:11, 3:5-7
b. Emphasizes God’s sovereignty, man’s need.

c. Monergistic vs. Synergistic salvation

IV. Man as Redeemed by Christ

A. Method of Salvation

1. Substitutionary atonement

a. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (huper )
b. John 10:15
c. Romans 3:21-26
d. Colossians 2:13-14

B. Application of Salvation

1. Regeneration - giving of spiritual life

a. God’s Sovereign work - required to be first

2. Repentance - metanoia - changing of the mind

a. Romans 2:4
b. 2 Timothy 2:24-26
c. Romans 8:5-8 -
natural mind vs. spiritual
d. A must for salvation.

3. Faith

a. Definitions and References

1) Hebrew definition - Genesis 15:6, amen, emeth = truth
2) Acceptance of the promises of God - not irrational
3) Romans 10:8-13
4) John 1:12
5) Acts 16:31
6) John 5:24
7) God’s gift - Ephesians 2:8-9, chair example

b. Results of true faith

1) True faith is focused on the Lord Jesus Christ
2) True faith is given to those who are eternally joined to Jesus.
3) True faith acknowledges the Lordship of Christ.
4) True faith results in willingness to “take up the cross and follow Christ”.
5) True faith brings about a changed life and renunciation of sin, and brings about the only real promise of eternal security (I John 5:1-13).

C. Position of the Redeemed

1. Eternal life

a. John 3:3-6
b. 2 Corinthians 5:17
c. John 5:24
d. 1 John 5:11-13

2. Justification

a. Definition of dikaiosune
b. Romans 5:1

3. Union with Christ

a. Ephesians 1:1-13 (10x) 1:7; 1:4 from eternity
b. Galatians 2:20 - in His death.
c. Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:6 - in His resurrection.

4. Forgiveness

a. Acts 10:43
b. Psalm 103:12
c. Colossians 2:13-14
d. When? At Calvary - Galatians 2:20 (see Union with Christ)

5. Adoption

a. Romans 8:14-15
b. Galatians 4:6-7

6. Reconciliation

a. Colossians 1:21-22
b. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

7. Sanctification

a. Hebrews 10:14
b. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

8. Glorification - Romans 8:30

V. Man as Object of Redemptive Election

A. God as Sovereign over Human Affairs

1. Genesis 20:6 - Abimelech and Sara
2. Exodus 34:24
3. Deuteronomy 2:30
4. Joshua 11:19,20
5. Ezra 1:1-2, 7:27
6. Isaiah 10:5-7
7. Proverbs 16:33, 19:21, 20:24,21:1
8. Psalm 135:6
9. Others: Job 14:5, Psalm 65:4, 139:16, Proverbs 16:33, 19:21, 20:24, 21:1, Isaiah 10:5-7, 43:12-13, 45:7, 46:9-10, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Matthew 24:31, 25:34, John 15:19, Acts 4:28, 10:41, 13:48, 17:26, I Thess. 5:9, 2 Timothy 2:10 etc. and etc.

B. Specific Passages Teaching God’s Election

1. Ephesians 1:3-12
2. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
3. Matthew 11:27
4. John 6:37, 44, 65
5. 2 Timothy 1:8-9
6. Romans 8:28-37, 9:10-24

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, preaching on 2/5/1882, on the passage from John 6:66, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” said, The defection in this case was on account of doctrine... The truth was too hard for them, it was not to be borne with. “It is a hard saying. Who can hear it?” A true disciple sits at the feet of his Master, and believes what he is told even when he cannot quite comprehend the meaning, or see the reasons for what his Master utters; but these men had not the essential spirit of a disciple, and consequently when their Instructor began to unfold the innermost parts of the roll of truth, they would not listen to His reading of it. They would believe as far as they could understand, but when they could not comprehend they turned on their heel and left the school of the Great Teacher. Besides, the Lord Jesus Christ had taught the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, and of the need of the Spirit of God, that men should be led to Him, “for Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” Here our Lord uttered a bit of old-fashioned free-grace doctrine, such as people nowadays do not like. They call it “Calvinism”, and put it aside among the old exploded tenets which this enlightened age knows nothing of. What right they have to ascribe to the Genevan reformer a doctrine as old as the hills I do not know. But our Lord Jesus never hesitated to fling that truth into the face of His enemies. He told them, “Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Here he tells them plainly that they could not come unto Him unless the Father gave them the grace to come. This humbling doctrine they could not receive, and so they went aside. (CHS, Sermons, 28, 111-2)

C. What of God’s foreknowledge?

1. Two meanings

a. Non-Biblical terminology based on omniscience and eternality

b. NT concept illustrated in usage - Acts 2:23 (Jesus), Romans 8:29 -30 (elect), Romans 11:2 (Israel), 1 Peter 1:2 (us)

c. “To know” in Biblical usage: Exodus 33:17, Dt. 9:24, Jer. 1:5, Hosea 8:4, Amos 3:2, Mt. 7:23, Ju. 10:14, 1 Cor. 8:3, 2 Tim. 2:19

2. Foreknowledge of human actions dependent upon the fact of the reality, not contingency, of said acts. Salvation is the result of God’s choice, not the basis thereof. We choose him because he chooses us.

D. Obvious Result: Eternal Security

1. Security based on foregoing discussion: grace, election, God’s role.
2. Specific passages:

a. Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:5
b. Philippians 1:6
c. 1 Corinthians 1:7-9, 30-31
d. John 6:37, 10:25-29
e. John 10:14/Matthew 7:22-23
f. Colossians 3:3
g. Hebrews 12:2

3. While security is based in God’s role in salvation, we must needs also remember that we gain confidence of our salvation only as we obey Christ, and live in subjection to His Lordship.