Justification by Christ 14

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 sovereign pleasure of God is displayed in the certain redemption of His elect from their fallen estate to spiritual and eternal life. In this great work, He has done whatsoever He has pleased. It is true, that the unalterable decree of election rendered redemption unavoidable; notwithstanding, it is impossible that it could ever become undesirable, in the eyes of the God of everlasting love. It pleased Him to choose them, therefore it must be pleasing to Him to redeem and possess them. (John Stevens)

It is such a delight to meditate and think upon what it is to be freely justified by free-grace. There is no assurance in modern views of justification that depend upon man’s choice or man’s repentance or man’s works. It is almost as if some say that one is justified by faith but then go on to hold to sanctification by works of some kind. God saves sinners according to His good PLEASURE, and we must not forget that pleasure part. It pleases God to save some to the glory of His great name. There is not one unimportant aspect to justification, and this is certainly one that we must not forget.

When the 1689 says that God saves for Christ’ sake alone, we must know that it is the Son that the voice from heaven said that in Him (the Son) He (the Father) was well-pleased. The pleasure of God is in His Son and the pleasure of God is in all that the Son dwells in and manifests the glory of God in and through. It is the very pleasure of God to shine forth His glory in and through the Son and it is the doctrine of justification where the attributes of God meet in the Son. In the doctrine of justification we have the meeting of the indwelling glory of God in His people by the Son. In the doctrine of justification we have the eternal covenant between the Father and the Son set forth. In the doctrine of justification we have the cross of Christ and His free-gift of righteousness imputed to sinners meeting and kissing to the glory of His great name.

As this great doctrine is the doctrine that the Church stands or falls upon, it is not just some dry setting forth of doctrine, but it is here where God shines forth His glory and His pleasure in His glory. It is here that we can behold the glory of God and His delight in His own glory. It is here that we must lose all hope in ourselves and behold the free-grace of God in giving His Son that He delights in and delighting Himself in bruising the Son (Isaiah 53) because in that He could behold His glory in the Son and in the Son saving sinners. God is pleased to save sinners in the Son and it is here that sinners can have assurance.

In the doctrine of justification we are enabled to behold the glory of God shining forth in Christ and His saving sinners to the glory of His free-grace. In the doctrine of justification we are enabled to see and taste of the very pleasure of God in saving sinners for the sake of His own name and for Christ’ sake. When the Lord is pleased to turn our hearts from ourselves and our works as having any part in our justification, then we can see how the pleasure of God in Christ is our assurance. The Father’s wrath was satisfied by the work of Christ on the cross and His requirement of a perfect righteousness was satisfied in the life and obedience of Christ. When sinners are enabled to see that in Christ all the wrath of the Father is gone and that He has given them a perfect righteousness and that He has had great pleasure in doing so, they may rejoice in the pleasure of God and their hearts may be quieted and humbled.

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