Justification and Sanctification

http://www.rogma.org/lessons/doctrines/docclass/gdl22.htm

Lesson 22
Justification and Sanctification

Introduction

What we would like to do in this lesson is to make doctrine come alive to you. It is impossible to fully enjoy the blessing of your salvation without a thorough grasp of the vital doctrines embodied in that salvation, such as redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, adoption, etc.

We want you to see that the study of such truths need not be dull. To fully understand them and be able to apply them to your life is to make Christ and your Christian; faith flow and glow with reality.

In this lesson we want to clearly teach the meaning and significance of the primary doctrines of justification and sanctification. May the value of the truths they contain fill your soul with joy.

Importance of this Lesson

Bildad the Shuhite asked the question that has perplexed man through the ages, "How then can a man be justified with God"? (Job 25:4). How can a law breaking, Christ denying, God defying, wrath deserving sinner be declared totally righteous and free of guilt by an absolutely holy God? If it can be done, it is the most remarkable news a person could ever hear and that news is in this lesson. But, while justification is positional, sanctification is practical and relates more to daily living. Justification relates to what God declares us to be and how He sees us. Sanctification is not only positional in Christ, it is progressive as we grow in holiness of life. Because both doctrines are identified with righteousness, we are dealing with both in this one lesson.

The Lesson
Justification and Sanctification


A. JUSTIFICATION

Meaning

In daily language we often say things like, "There was no justification for what he did", or "He tried to justify his actions before the jury." In either case, the usage means "to make right." His actions could not be "made right", or "He tried to make right" his actions before the jury.

Interestingly the use of this word in the New Testament is much the same.

"To justify" and "justification" are directly related to the words, "righteous" and "righteousness" since both derive from very similar Greek words.

Verb = dikaioo = "to declare righteous" or "to justify"

Noun = dikaiosune = "righteousness" or "justification"

Adjective = dikaios = "righteous" or "justified"

Justification = contains two elements:

The forgiveness of all sin, guilt and/or blame. (Romans 8:1, 33; also Acts 13:38, 39).

The imputation of God's righteousness and the complete restoration to God's favor (Romans 3:22; 4:5). ....

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Rom 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Act 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: Act 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

imputation .....Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

imputation .....Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Justification does not make us righteous in a practical sense. It is a judicial, legal act of God whereby He declares us to be righteous when we believe. In other words, it relates to how Gods sees us the moment we place our trust for salvation in Christ.

It concerns our relationship to God which was ruined by Adam and sin. It is a return to the full favor, acceptance and blessing of God.It relates to our standing as believers, not our state. Our state is our spiritual condition and relates to regeneration and sanctification.

Justification is the result of a transaction in which the believing sinner and the Lord Jesus Christ change places. Read II Corinthians. 5:21.

Christ becomes sin! We become righteous.

Christ is so linked to the believing sinner, God reckons our sins to be His. The believing sinner is so linked to Christ, God reckons His righteousness to be ours!!!

Justification is not simply a pardon by the judge. It is restoration of full rights and relationships as though we had never been guilty.

It is coming into God's courtroom, having believed on Christ and having been clothed with His righteousness and hearing the judge of all the earth say, "Not guilty". (Romans 8:1). ....

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Justification Its Authority - By whose word and by what right can we claim to be righteous and without guilt or blame in God's sight? The answer is God Himself! Read Romans 3:26, 30; 8:33.

On what premise, where is the origin, by what source are we justified? The answer is "by Grace". Read Titus 3:7; Galatians 5:4; Romans 3:24.

If by Grace it must be free, undeserved and by God's favor in Christ alone.

By what means? By the shed blood of Christ. (Hebrews 9:22; Romans 5:9).

By the "redemptive work of Christ" (Romans 3:24).

Justification is not cheap. Christ paid the price!

By the "propitiatory work" of Christ. This relates to the mercy seat in the tabernacle in the wilderness. When God saw the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat He was satisfied that sin had been confessed and typically paid for. In the blood of Jesus, God sees our sins as paid for. His holiness is satisfied and He can now be "just and the justifier" of all who believe (Romans 3:26).

How complete is our justification?

From all things. (Acts 13:38, 39. Romans 8:1).

From all iniquity. (Titus 2:14).

All of our sins were laid on Him. (Isaiah 53:6).

All of His righteousness is laid on us. (Romans 3:22).

Act 13:38-39 Therefore be it known to you, men, brothers, that through this One the forgiveness of sins is announced to you. And by Him all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses

Tit 2:14 who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works.

Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.\

Rom 3:21 But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; Rom 3:22 even the righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference,

By what method or procedure are we justified?

By FAITH alone. Read Galatians 2:16; 3:8, 11. (Read also Habbakuk 2:4, Romans 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38).

Gal 2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ; even we believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith in Christ, and not by works of the Law. For all flesh will not be justified by works of law.

Gal 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations through faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all nations be blessed."

Gal 3:11 But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, "The just shall live by faith."

Now read Romans 3:25 28; 4:2-5.

Suppose a man is thoughtful and kind, he cares for his family, loves his wife, serves good causes in the community, pays his debts, and is morally upright. Why is he not justified?

Because God sees no man as righteous. (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 53:6; 64:6).

Because salvation is by grace and therefore cannot be by character or works. (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 4:5).

Because works, or the Law, were never able or intended to make a man righteous or to live righteously.

(Romans 3:20) The "therefore" of this verse assumes that a trial has taken place and a verdict announced. Read verses 9 12 for the verdict!

The law exposes sin but provides no remedy and no emancipation. It can only stop our mouths and declare us guilty. (Romans 3:19).

Because the Law requires perfect obedience (Galatians 3:10; 5:3).

Because then such a man could boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Note the word about Abraham in (Romans. 4:2). If by works he could boast, "but not before God'.

So, we are shut up to Grace and Faith!

What certainty or assurance do we have? The Resurrection (Romans 4:25). All of our hope and assurance is linked to the Resurrection of Christ. (I Peter 1:3).

The Resurrection is the proof that God was satisfied with the work of Christ on our behalf.

The results of justification.

Peace with God (Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20, 21).

A peace treaty has been signed in the blood of Jesus! The enmity has been removed, the differences resolved, the barriers to fellowship and communion broken down. The war is over. I am at peace with God!

No Wrath! Now or ever!

(John 3:36) "The wrath of God abides on him". Not any longer!

(I Thessalonians 5:9) Sinners go through the Day of God's wrath, but not the believer. Read Romans 5:9.

Good works. The justified believer has been "created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10). Works never justify, but the justified believer will work. (Galatians 5:6).

NOTE: (James 2:14-20). Here James is speaking of the fruit of justification. Paul looks at the root! They do not contradict each other. James simply says, "Faith without works" is dead. That is, faith that fails to work is no faith at all, and that kind of faith does not save. Paul agrees.

Glory!

(Titus 3:7). "Having been justified, we are made heirs" (Romans 8:7, 18).

In God's eyes we have already inherited the glory we shall share with Christ. (Romans 8:30). "Whom He justified them he also glorified!"

We shall be like Him. (I John 3:2).

At the Rapture or resurrection we shall actually be in fact what God sees and reckons us to be right now!

Once more, How are we justified in God's eyes?

Read Romans 3:20 Not by the deeds of the law.

Now read Romans 3:26-28 entirely by faith in the person and work of Jesus.

B. SANCTIFICATION

Meaning

In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the English words sanctify and holy in their various grammatical forms mean "to set apart for God".

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word is "qdsh" or Qodesh" which basically means "to set apart" or "to make holy".

In the New Testament, the Greek word is "hagios" in various forms and is translated "holy", "holiness", "sanctify", "sanctified" and "sanctification".

In both testaments, the words are used for both people and things.

Illustrations in the Old Testament:

(Genesis 2:3) The seventh day is sanctified.

(Exodus 19:23) Mt. Sinai is sanctified.

(Leviticus 27:14) A man sanctifies his house and field.

(Joshua 7:13) Joshua is told to sanctify the people.

(Exodus 29:36) The altar is sanctified.

(Exodus 29:44) Aaron and his sons are sanctified.

(In every situation the meaning is to set apart as holy for God. Also, bear in mind that the same word "Qodesh" is rendered dedication, consecration, and holiness in addition to sanctification.

Illustrations in the New Testament:

(Matthew 23:17,19) The gold on the altar and the gift laid.

(I Timothy 4:5) Food is sanctified.

(I Corinthians 7:14) The unbelieving wife of a believer.

(John 10:36) Christ was sanctified by the Father.

(I Peter l3:15) The believer sanctifies Christ in his heart.

(Again, in all verses, the meaning is "to set apart for God.")

When used of things, the word "sanctify" does not imply any inner moral quality. When used of persons there is a three fold meaning.

Positional

Believers are viewed as being "in Christ".

The phrase is found 28 times in Ephesians alone.

Positionally, as being "in Christ", believers are said to be sanctified, (I Corinthians 1:2) and are called saints, "holy ones", (Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2, etc. also in I Corinthians 1:30), Christ is said to be the believer's sanctification.

Note: Hebrews 10:10, where we see that believers are sanctified forever (once for all) "through the offering of the body of Christ.

Practical and/or Progressive.

Experientially, believers develop in holiness and grow in grace (II Peter 3:18).

Through the Word of God. (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26).

By the Holy Spirit working in and through us. (II Corinthians 3:18).

Through God working in us. (I Thessalonians 5:23).

Perfect and/or Prophetic.

Perfection must await the coming of the Lord, for then

We shall be changed into incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:51-56).

We shall be like the Lord Jesus, (I John 3:2), and our sanctification will be complete.

When is a believer sanctified?

Positionally, the moment we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, (Acts 26:18) "by faith".

For at that moment we are baptized into Christ, (I Corinthians 12:13), set apart or sanctified in Him, (I Corinthians 1:2) and He becomes our sanctification, (I Corinthians 1:30).

However, practically, progressively and experientially we become more and more set apart for God, more and more sanctified and holy.

We are to "perfect holiness" in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1).

God has called us to holiness. (I Thessalonians 4:7).

God's will is that we yield our members to holiness and become the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:19, 20).

Teachers and pastors are for the perfecting of the saints until they reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13).

How are we sanctified?

By the sacrifice and blood of Christ. (Hebrews 10:10, 29).

By following Christ's example. (Ephesians 4:20; Philippians 2:5).

By the cleansing of the Word of God. (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26).

By the power of The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the agent in our sanctification.

I Peter 1:2; II Thessalonians 2:15; Romans 15:16.

The Spirit works in harmony with God's election of us.

The Holy Spirit is also the power by which Sanctification is effected in us. (Romans 8:13; Ephesians 3:16; Galatians 5:16)

NOTE
Knowledge and spiritual growth are not obtained by hurrying through the lesson. Make certain that you understand the lesson and the questions thoroughly before giving your answers. For honesty and your soulís good, you must not refer to the lesson after you begin to answer the questions

 

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http://www.biblicist.org/bible/just.shtml

Justification a Declaration

A Biblical Comparison To The Roman Catholic Tradition

"Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).

Forgiveness Of Sins

* A Judicial Act *

Lewis Sperry Chafer in his monumental work, "Grace, The Glorious Theme," presents a very provocative argument stating that "grace does not appear in the immediate divine dealings with the sins of mankind." This seems at first to be a puzzling, contradictory statement to the evangelical believer because of the often muddled teachings regarding the believer's salvation and his life under grace. But the key word in his statement is "immediate." He goes on to maintain that God's immediate dealings with sin is not in mercy or leniency and that the sinner is never forgiven because God is big-hearted enough to remit the penalty or waive its righteous judgments. In fact, Chafer rightly points out that to present such an "immediate clemency" toward sinners would be a total distraction from the meaning of the cross since it was there, through God's unblemished Lamb, Jesus Christ, that God dealt not graciously but judicially with man's sins (Is. 53:10; 1Cor. 15:3; 2Cor. 5:21; 1Pet. 2:24).

On the cross the righteous Substitute (Jesus Christ) took upon Himself the world's sins and paid the ransom price, in full (His shed blood). So based on the forensic nature of Christ's work, it is concluded that the divine forgiveness of sins is not an immediate act of grace, but instead a divine act of justice in which God pardons forever the indebted sinner in view of the fact that his debt has been fully paid by Another and appropriated to the sinner, according to the Scriptures, not at baptism but at the time of personal belief.

Justification

* A declarative Act *....

Scripture, on the other hand, reveals justification to be an immediate act of divine grace. When a sinner believes on Jesus Christ for the remission of his sins God, based on Christ's finished work on the cross, imputes to the believer the righteousness of Christ and based on that imputed righteousness, reckons (declares) the believer eternally justified in His Son.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:23-24)

"For what does the Scripture say? 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.' Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor (grace) but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works." (Rom. 4:3-6)

The Scriptures reveal to us that justification is a divine, declarative act. It is not something wrought in man by his own works but is something, in view of Christ's work on the cross and who Christ is, divinely declared of man. It does not make him upright or righteous, but declared of him based on the imputed righteousness of Christ.

What Christ has done on the cross becomes the basis of the believer's divine forgiveness. What Christ is ("the righteousness of God," Rom. 3:21), when imputed to the believer, becomes the basis of his divine justification.

Righteousness

* Imputed Through Faith *.....

When a sinner believes in Jesus Christ he is "born again" out of Adam and into Christ Jesus the "last Adam" (1Cor. 15:45) who becomes the believer's new identity; He being the Progenitor of a new heavenly humanity (1Cor. 15:47). God declares the believer justified because he is IN CHRIST who is Himself our righteousness.

"But by His (God's) doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption..." (1Cor. 1:30; cf. 2Cor. 5:21).

The believer not only has all his sins remitted and is redeemed and reconciled to God through Christ's shed blood, but being in Christ he is imputed a new standing. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Phillippians, after listing his accolades in the flesh, concludes that he counts them but rubbish compared to being found in Christ....

"...and may be found IN HIM, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law (or self-works) but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes FROM GOD on the basis of faith.." (Phil. 3:9)

Catholicism's

* Infusion Confusion *

In spite of Biblical revelation Catholicism chooses to ignore the truth that justification is solely God's declarative act, a divine gift of grace toward the redeemed in Christ who have simply placed their faith in Him.

According to Roman Catholic theology justification occurs because of a so-called "infusion" of the grace of God into the soul at the time of baptism. At the time of baptism, it is said, the soul takes on the inherent characteristic of righteousness. Justification then becomes both an event and a process in that after the pollution of sin has been removed through baptism (not faith), the baptized one advances from virtue to virtue performing meritorious works and receives as a reward a greater measure of grace and a more perfect justification. It becomes the constant duty of the one baptized to co-operate throughout his life with the grace of God given to him (infused righteousness), especially by abiding in the sacraments of the church. However, during this life long process this infused grace may be lost, being restored by the sacrament of penance.

For the one born into the Roman Catholic religion, this process would begin at infancy since Romanism practices infant baptism. Therefore, personal faith in Jesus Christ is not a necessary requirement to begin this "process of justification." According to Catholic tradition, this imparted "infused" righteousness is called the "formal" cause of justification while the "meritorious" cause is Christ's passion and death.

In summary, Romanism's tradition of justification is Biblically unfounded. It is essentially a works process starting with baptism and meritoriously advanced, rather than as the Bible reveals, a sovereign, declarative act of God toward the redeemed who have personally believed on Jesus Christ as Savior. Tragically, Roman Catholic tradition can supply no assurance of salvation to those who follow it and therefore espouses the extra-biblical doctrine of purgatory which denies the sufficiency of Christ's work on the cross as the divine solution for man's sins (compare with Jo. 20:31).

In stark contradistinction the Word of God reveals that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a GIFT by His GRACE through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:23-24). That He (God) "might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). Christ's finished work on the cross is the basis for God declaring the believer (not the baptized one) righteous in His sight. "Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law OF FAITH" (Rom. 3:27).

"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness" (Rom. 4:5)

For a more thorough discussion on Christ's finished work on the cross see the BIBLICIST article, "The Finished Work Of Christ."

For a more thorough discussion on the penalty of sin see the BIBLICIST article, "Dying You Shall Die."

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http://www.frontlinemin.org/print.asp?page=/dynaofgrace.asp

The Doctrine of Justification by Faith: Understanding So Great a Salvation

By Jay Wegter

INTRODUCTION Ė Justification defines our relationship with God. The purity of the gospel depends upon an accurate understanding of justification by grace through faith.

The doctrine of justification by faith has not been given the central place it deserves. In his book, The dynamics of Spiritual Life, Richard Lovelace describes the problem. "Only a fraction of the present body of professing Christians are solidly appropriating the justifying work of Christ in their lives. Many have so light an apprehension of Godís holiness and of the extent and guilt of their sin that consciously they see little need for justification, although below the surface of their lives they are deeply guilt-ridden and insecure."

Jerry Bridges also exposes the same problem indicating that the doctrine of justification by faith has been relegated to the sphere of the unbeliever only. When that happens, says Bridges, Christians turn from grace to personal performance as the basis for Christian living (The Discipline of Grace).

In Evangelicalism today, the doctrine of justification has been exegeted in statements of faith, but the dynamic relationships that flow from the doctrine have not been adequately explained.

Application - Tozer understood the value of justification for daily living. He extolled the liberty God supplies in justification. He reminds us that when justification is appropriated, the believer is liberated from sterile legalism, from unavailing self-effort and from the paralyzing fear of condemnation. Tozer adds that the doctrine of justification in Christ is not simply a legal declaration, it is an ongoing revealer of the infinite riches of the Godhead.

THE NEED OF JUSTIFICATION

When our first parents sinned, the whole human race was plunged into total depravity (sin ruled every human faculty, man became dead to God, Ephesians 2:1-3). By Adamís one act of disobedience, all of his progeny were constituted sinners. Adamís descendants are sinful by nature, by practice, by preference, by birth and by decree.

God has given a legal PRONOUNCEMENT about the sinful state of mankind (Rom. 3:9, 10ff; 3:23; 5:12). This pronouncement is a legal declaration, a verdict about every member of the human race. It is a judicial pronouncement about our legal standing before God.

Every unbeliever has a legal standing before God of CONDEMNATION (John 3:36; Rom. 5:16,18; Mark 16:16). In heavenís sight, all unsaved people are in a state of condemnation, liable to eternal punishment (Gal. 3:22).

No man or woman has the power to change that standing before God. The unbeliever cannot lessen his guilt, nor offset it with works, nor work his way out of condemnation.

THE NATURE OF JUSTIFICATION

Into this human condition of ruin, crisis and condemnation comes the glorious brilliance of the gospel. The extraordinary message of the good news is that through Christ there is a second legal pronouncement from the God of the universe. The second pronouncement has superceded the first legal declaration of universal guilt and condemnation. Justification is that second legal declaration. It overturns the first pronouncement for those who believe.

Romans 1:16,17 answers the question, "How can sinful man be just and righteous in Godís sight?" (See Williams Translation, "For in the good news Godís way of manís right standing with Him is uncovered.")

Justification is a VERDICT about us (Rom. 3:22-28). It is declaration takes place in the courtroom of God, before the throne of God, at the justice bar of God, whereby the believer is declared judicially righteous.

Justification is a legal DECLARATION by God in HEAVEN concerning a man, that he stands RIGHTEOUS in Godís sight (Rom. 5:18,19; 3:26; 4:5; 8:33ff).

The righteousness God looks upon when He justifies the believer is resident in CHRIST JESUS (Phil. 3:9; Rom. 4:23-25).

Application Ė The good news of the gospel is only received as tidings of joy by the person who has felt to some degree the crushing weight of his own sin. The gospel is only good news to a person who is impressed with his own ill desert and guilt before God. God prepares a man for salvation by convincing him of his slavery to sin and the hopelessness of dependence upon self. The awakened sinner respects Godís justice and has begun to quake at the condemnation of Godís law. (For further study Ė Consider what errors stem from the idea that justification is a process instead of an instantaneous legal pronouncement.)

THE AGENT OF JUSTIFICATION

Salvation is always a sovereignly given gift of Godís grace to those who believe (Eph. 2:8,9). Only those who relinquish all claims to goodness and acknowledge they are ungodly are candidates for justification (Rom. 4:5; Luke 5:32).

In justification, God takes His own righteousness and credits it to the believer. Faith cannot be a meritorious work, it is simply the channel which receives Godís righteousness (Rom. 4:3).

God justifies us by FAITH alone (Gal. 2:15-21). God justifies the person who looks away from himself and trusts in CHRIST ALONE for righteousness (Titus 3:5-7; Rom. 4:4,5).

Application Ė Saving faith never looks upon itself as having performed a meritorious work. Beware when the seeker asks, "What is faith, that I may do it?"

When a person exercises saving faith, it is because Holy Spirit has brought him to end of self and led him to the risen Christ. The "prepared" sinner despairs of being able to provide any part of his salvation.

Saving faith is by nature self-renouncing. It judges self and condemns self. It finds the resources of self to be bankrupt. It looks away from self and in utter dependence looks upon Another.

THE BASIS OF JUSTIFICATION

Right standing or justification is only by reason of our union with Christ. By union with Christ, the believer is given right standing as a gift of grace. The Holy Spirit applies the benefits of Christís death and life to the one who trusts Christ.

Godís legal basis for justifying the ungodly is CHRISTíS FINISHED WORK of substitution and redemption (2 Cor. 5:19-21; Is. 53:5,6; Gal. 3:13). The ground of (our) justification is not the believerís faith, but the REDEMPTION that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24).

Application Ė What errors may develop if a person considers his faith to be the foundation that supports his justification?

THE JUSTICE OF GOD IN OUR JUSTIFICATION

Scripture joins the justice of God in the cross to the justice of God in our justification. The argument of the Apostle in Romans 3:25-31 is that the justice of God is upheld and vindicated when sinners receive forgiveness.

Along with Paul, every Christian must emphasize that the justice of God is magnified in the doctrine of justification. When the sinner is pardoned and declared righteous (justified), it is NOT because God has exercised leniency or clemency! God is, "Just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). God upholds His own immutable law when He justifies he ungodly.

The justice of God is made manifest in three great imputations. To impute is to ascribe or attribute wickedness or merit to another person. When something is imputed to a person, it is a matter of counting or reckoning to their account. (Imputation is the heart of justification. God declares the repentant sinner righteous and does not count his sins against him because He covers him with the righteousness of Christ the moment he places faith in Christ.)

The Three Great Imputations:

O R I G I N A L S I N (The First Pronouncement)

1.) The IMPUTATION of Adamís sin to his descendants (Rom. 5:12).

J U S T I F I C A T I O N B Y F A I T H (The Second Pronouncement)

2.) The IMPUTATION of the sin of the elect to Christ (1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21).

3.) The IMPUTATION of Christís righteousness to the elect (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-26).

The doctrine of justification by faith directly involves the second and third of these great imputations. In justification, there is both the forgiveness of sin and the imputation of righteousness. In order to be regarded just in the sight of Godís law, there must be both a positive righteousness and an absence of transgressions. Justification accomplishes both for the believing sinner.

Romans 5:12-21 - The same divinely ordained principle that allowed Adam to represent his race also provides that Christ be the representative of all those who would believe upon Him. This is the reason why Christ is referred to as "the last Adam," (1 Cor. 15:45).

Paul lifts up Godís love and grace in Romans 5 as he sets forth Christís victorious work of representing His people. In that chapter, the Apostle makes it clear that every man stands either in Christ or in Adam as representative. Those in Adam remain under a reign of death. Those in Christ are under the reign of grace and life.

Application - In our horizontal relationships we may demonstrate virtues that over time deepen our commitment with others. We gain the trust of others, we win their affection, we earn their respect and we prove our faithfulness and usefulness. BUT, in our vertical relationship with the Lord, right-relatedness is completely a gift of Godís grace.

Status, favor, sustenance and right standing are freely poured out upon the believer as gifts in consequence of our union with Christ. All of Godís subsequent dealings with us are grounded upon this fact of free grace. We are to stand in the grace of God and exult in it (1 Pet. 5:12; Rom. 5:2).

In personal relationships it is difficult to express love and trust if we do not know where we stand with an individual. Many Christians face a similar dilemma with the Lord of Hosts. They seem unable to clearly think through the most central issue: "What has God done with my sin and guilt?" It is vital that the saint learn how to take hold of the sufficiency of Christ as his sin-bearing Substitute.

God forgives by "non-imputation," and He accepts into favor by the imputation of His own righteousness (Rom. 4:5-8). The maturing believer practices this "gospel reasoning" as he does the accounting of his conscience and soul. The more biblically he thinks, the more inclined he is to receive Godís love and comfort and to seek His fellowship. (Remember, the whole idea of a righteousness that is a gift from God is contrary to all our inherited nature.)

THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF JUSTIFICATION

Although the nature of justification is that of a forensic declaration, there are four biblical dimensions of justification that safeguard it from distortion.

Heresies related to salvation inevitably exclude or replace at least one of the four dimensions.

1.) We are justified JUDICIALLY by God (Rom. 3:26,30; 8:30,33). It is a declaration that is instantaneous and forensic, taking place in the throne room of God.

2.) We are justified MERITORIOUSLY by Christ (Rom. 3:24; 4:23,25; 5:8,9; 10:4). Our right standing is grounded upon the redemptive work of Christ alone.

3.) We are justified MEDIATELY by faith (Rom. 1:17; 3:26,30; Gal. 2:16, 3:24). Sinful man cannot contribute to his justification. It can only be received as a gift of Godís grace. Faith is the channel through which it is received.

4.) We are justified EVIDENTIALLY by works (James 2:21-25; 1 Jn. 2:4,15,19, 3:6-10,24; 4:8,20). (Works justify us from the accusations of men who say that our claims of salvation are false. The fruit of faith is good works. In contrast to a hypocritical faith, true faith purifies the heart and is made manifest in a life of integrity.)

GOD IS GLORIFYING HIS GRACE

Godís grace in Christ is the great revealer of the divine attributes (Eph. 1:6,12,14). The satanic lie of Eden planted the notion in the heart of man that Godís glory and our highest good are antithetical to one another.

Through the Person and work of Christ, the Agent of Godís justifying love, light pierces into the darkened understanding of man, reversing the lie (2 Cor. 4:4-6). By way of the gospel, men have the Edenic lie expunged. Through the grace of God in the gospel, the believer comes to understand that God has joined His glory to our highest good. Those who understand that gracious fact can say that it is rational to abandon oneself to God in Christ (Rom. 12:1).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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