Justification by Christ 15

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?”

While it may not only appear repetitive but actually be so, it must be stressed over and over to our hearts which so tend to rely on self in some way that we are justified quite apart from ourselves. This requires a stripping of self and pride to even grasp this beyond the mere intellectual propositions, but for the heart to grasp this it requires a deeper and deeper humility. We must grasp this in the depths of our souls and we must personalize it, though perhaps we should say that God must work it in us that it would be personalized.

Jonathan Edwards spoke of an evangelical humility which was deeper than any legal humility could bring. This is very, very true. A legal humility can only bring us to the point of seeing that we cannot keep the law, though that is very important, but grace brings a humility that empties us of our tenacious grasp on self. Grace will bring the soul to where it delights in abasing itself and delights in being saved by free-grace alone. The soul must be taught of the Lord these things and it must learn them from the depths of the heart that these things are true of it.

When we see that only those who are effectually called are freely justified, we must know that is true of me. Now what must I do? It empties us of all hope in self if we truly grasp that. It empties us of all hope in anything we can possibly do and it causes the soul to cry out to the Lord with a broken heart. This broken heart has learned that it can do nothing to cause God to save it, but that does not keep it from seeking the Lord and crying out for grace so that it can seek Him truly. This soul is so deeply humbled that it sees that even its seeking falls short of His glory. At some point this soul will stop working and striving for righteousness and look to Christ and His righteousness alone. Oh how the humbled soul knows that salvation is for the sake of Christ and it loves that as well.

The soul taught of the Lord realizes how much religion that it has trusted in and how much of self it had previously trusted in rather than Christ alone, though indeed it thought it did. The soul that the Lord teaches will be brought to a point where it sees that it studied by Bible for self and prayed for self, but now it is broken by grace and it looks to Christ and His righteousness alone. Perhaps the soul was trusting in self to have faith and the Lord broke that heart from trusting in self for faith and now the soul looks to Christ for faith as well as looking to Christ for faith.

This humbled and broken heart now knows that it was not because it was special in the eyes of God that He saved it, but it was for the sake of Christ and His name that it was saved. While this will be frightening to the soul at first since the soul is loathe to be broken from trusting in itself for something, the kindness and love of God will not leave it alone to trust in itself. The soul must be moved by the kindness of God who teaches these things in the inward man to realize that a full trust in Christ means to trust that God saves sinners for the sake of His name alone. Oh how this is a dagger to the pride of man, yet in the hands of the gentle Savior it is a loving strike of the dagger and it is precisely what each soul needs. The doctrine of justification is not just a series of propositions that the mind holds to, but instead it is a glorious teaching of what God does in the soul as well. Our minds may accept these things as true, but we don’t hold them from the heart until the Lord teaches them to us. This requires painful work in the soul as only the Physician of souls can do.

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