Justification by Christ 11

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?”

In just wanting to get back to the God-centeredness of the Bible and the focus on God, we must know that God justifies sinners because of Himself and His own glory. Fallen men want a God that is focused on them rather than His own glory, but that is not how the thrice holy God is. He loves Himself as triune and the Gospel flows out of that perfect love for Himself and His love for His own glory. Jesus Christ loved the Father and in accordance with the Great Commandment He loved the Father with all of His heart, mind, soul, and strength. It is out of love for His Father that He gave Himself for sinners. This is an important concept and in fact is a glorious teaching.

John 14:31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

The Lord Jesus Christ was headed to the Christ and His words were captured in Scripture and we can read them in John. He wanted the world to know that He loved the Father and so He did exactly what He was commanded to do. From eternity past the cross was planned and the Lord Jesus willingly and lovingly headed to the cross out of love for His Father. It is this that sinners can rest in. It is this that can give sinners confidence before the living God. Jesus Christ loved the Father perfectly and perfectly carried out the desires and plans of the Father.

The greatest hope that an Arminian can have, whether in name or a practical Arminian though a professing Calvinist, is in my choice. If it was my choice to trust in Christ, then my deepest trust is in myself and my choice. However, Romans 9 points us away from ourselves and points us to God and His electing grace. We are pointed to the mercy, compassion, and the love of God rather than our weak choice. Oh how utterly glorious this is if we could only get beyond thinking of self all the time.

Look at the 1689 with God-centered lenses. God, as thrice holy and perfect in every way, could never save sinners based on their own sinful and weak choices. God effectually calls and it is God who effectually justifies as well. There is simply no room for my choice to make a difference in the issue. This effectual justification means that there is not one thing lacking in it, but all is given by free-grace and all is accomplished by Christ. This cannot be emphasized too much. A free justification means that this justification is free of causation in the human being and that it is all of the initiative and work of God. This leaves no room for the sinner to work up faith on his or her own even if s/he could work it up which no one can. What man cannot do God does easily and perfectly. What man cannot do God accomplishes for His own glory. Man is justified completely, utterly, and totally by Christ alone. Man is justified, completely, utterly, and totally by grace alone and to the glory of God alone. With that in mind, true faith can only come from the work of God in Christ and given by grace. Nothing is left to do in the perfect and free justification that God works.

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