Justification by Christ 2

1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 11
1._____ Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.

Justification by faith alone is the article upon which the Church stands or falls. Martin Luther

The doctrine of justification is at the heart of the Gospel of the glory of God in the face of Christ and when a professing church falls from the truth of the heart of this it stops being a true church at all. It is not a true local church when it does not preach the truth of the Gospel. It also appears that a person can preach the doctrine of it and still miss the heart of it which is centered upon God and His glory in Christ. A person that has not had his or her heart broken from self and pride will view justification from the view of self and pride and as such will miss the heart of the God-centeredness of true justification. For example, a person can profess the truth that God effectually calls sinners and not be effectually called. A person can agree that God accepts people as righteous based on the righteousness of Christ alone and still not be accepted as righteous by God. We must be very careful on these things.

Underlying this great doctrine of justification is the deadness and helplessness of man in sin and of God’s sovereign choice to show grace or not as He pleases. It is true that God saves those with faith, but we must deal with the question of why one has faith and another does not. If one reads the article above it has a great and grand truth that is at the very least implied in the great doctrine of justification though it is ignored in our day. It is the unity with Christ and that a person must be united to Christ Himself before any of the benefits of justification can be his or hers. Since it is Christ Himself that we must have in order to be justified, it throws quite a different light on the nature of justification and of the utter impotence of the so-called free-will. It is a far different thing for the will to make a choice for Christ than it is for Christ to be joined to the person and for the two to become one. It is Christ who saves and as such we must have Christ Himself and be in Him and also Christ in us. It is not enough to say that one simply believes the facts about Christ. One must actually be united to Him and be one with Him.

Those who are justified are effectually called by God. These sinners do not call themselves and do not come to Christ by themselves, but instead they are called by God. Jesus taught us very clearly in John 6 that we cannot come to Him but instead we must be drawn by Him. He also taught us that this happens when sinners are inwardly taught of the Father. What we must learn, then, is that God draws men and men do not come of themselves. This shows us the very glory of free grace instead of the wonder of the power of the choices of men. Men cannot come to Christ of themselves and so they will not come unless the Father draws them. Men cannot truly repent, though they can stop certain actions out of self-love, unless it is granted them and worked in them by God. Men must learn to seek the Lord to teach them in the inner man the truth and also the experience of themselves. It is not enough to know that I am depraved, God must teach the soul by the Spirit and His work of conviction that man has no ability or power in spiritual things.

The doctrine of justification by Christ alone and grace alone is built on the solid foundation that God draws sinners to Himself efficaciously which means that sinners do not come on their own power and ability. This is why the older writers and theologians taught sinners to seek the Lord that He would give them a new heart that they would be able to believe. Sinners need new and believing hearts worked in them by sovereign grace rather than just a mere choice. Sinners need the living Savior to actually and really save them. Sinners are saved in this efficacious call of God who applies Christ to them, but before sinners have Christ applied to them their wicked hearts that are full of self and pride must be convicted and broken. Only the humble can receive grace and as such God just teach sinners their great need of grace and of their need to bow before God with nothing in them and simply looking to Him alone who can do this mighty work in them. The doctrines of free-grace and a free-justification do not stand alone and are not intellectual doctrines alone, but God must teach these things in the hearts of men.

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