Justification by Christ 5

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

Romans 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”

The good news of this glory of a free-justification by free-grace just continues on. Why this subject matter is not a continually addressed in the churches is beyond me. In this we have the salvation of sinners and in this we behold the glory of God ever so brightly. The great God effectually calls some and then justifies them by free-grace. In justification He does not infuse or work righteousness in them in order to make them righteous, but instead He pardons their sins and for the sake of Christ He accounts and accepts their persons as righteous. This is not a legal fiction as some have called it, but He unites them to Christ and as such they are one person with Christ and as such their sins become His legal debt and His righteousness becomes theirs.

It is utterly vital to note and for the soul to have confidence in the fact that God declares sinners just on the basis of Christ alone. It is only this that gives sinners assurance in the presence of God, but it does not come by strength of intellect but only comes by the work of the Spirit in the soul. This growing to rest in Christ alone can only happen when the soul is broken from faith in self and love for self. God will discipline (train) His children and He will strip them of faith and hope in self that they may have faith and hope in Christ. The great hope of the believer is not in what God has worked in him or her, but what God has done in Christ Jesus. There is nothing that God has worked in a person and there is nothing that a person can do that will make them acceptable to God, but it is Christ alone who is acceptable to God.

The soul will usually have many trials of faith until it learns that it cannot trust in the works that it does. The soul will have many crises before it learns that the Law can never give it hope and assurance before God. The soul must learn that no obedience it can perform to the Law is the righteousness that pleases God. The person of the sinner is only acceptable to God on the basis of Christ alone. Some of the older Baptists and some of the Puritans taught that sinners must be broken and humbled by the work of God. Some have misunderstood that as meaning that in some way these things earned favor before God. Not in any way are those things acceptable to God. What we must see, however, is that the soul must be broken from self-love in order to love God. The soul must be broken from its self-righteousness in order to rest in the righteousness of Christ. The soul must be humbled from its great pride in order to receive grace. However, these things are the works of God in the soul and there is nothing in them that can please God as they are still imperfect. The soul must have Christ in order for God to be pleased.

The freedom that a true Christian has is beyond words. That Christians has Christ and as such his or her person is just before God because of Christ. The true believer has no works left to work in order to be justified, though the believer by grace has works of love to do. The true Christian is now free from the Law as a way of justification and by grace alone can love others for His glory. The true Christian has Christ and as such hell has been suffered in his or her place and heaven has been earned by Christ in his or her place and there is nothing left to be earned in order to enter into the eternal glories of God. It is being in Christ and Christ alone that enables the soul to be declared just in the sight of God. The living God does this by free-grace and there is nothing we can add to that free-grace. We can now see the beauty of God shining forth in the Law, but it does not condemn any longer and it should now be seen as the character of God on display. The glory of justification is the glory of God in Christ. It is perfect and cannot be added to, but instead it is to be received as grace alone and a grace that sinners can rest completely on.

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