Condensed Theology

A Primer in Systematic Theology

Soteriology: The Doctrine of Salvation
What does the Bible teach about salvation?

Review
• Primordial Union with Christ • Temporal Union with Christ
– Monergism – Synergism

Temporal Union with Christ
The Initiating Acts of God

Temporal Union with Christ: God’s Initiating Acts
• (Effective) Calling • Regeneration

Temporal Union with Christ
A Divine Response to Faith and Repentance: Justification

Justification Defined
• Justification is the act of God’s free grace by which he justly pardons all our sins, imputes our sin to Christ and Christ’s righteousness to us, accepts us as righteous in his sight, and declares us not guilty. • Justification is received by faith alone.

Justification Is an Act of God’s Free Grace

Justification by Grace
• Rom 3:23-24: …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. • Eph 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. • Titus 3:7: …so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Justification Entails the Just Pardon of All Our Sins

Justification: Just Pardon
• Rom 4:4-8: Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

Justification: Just Pardon
• If you understand the justice of God, the idea that God would pardon a guilty person is absurd.
– Exod 23:7: Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for I will not acquit the guilty. – Prov 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.

Justification: Just Pardon
• But this is exactly what God does in justification.
– Rom 4:4-5: Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.

• How can God justify (acquit, not condemn) a godless, guilty man and still be just?

Justification: Just Pardon
• The answer is found in the next element of our working definition of justification:
– Justification is the act of God’s free grace by which he justly pardons all our sins, imputes our sin to Christ and Christ’s righteousness to us, accepts us as righteous in his sight, and declares us not guilty.

• Imputation is the answer.

Justification Entails the Imputation of Our Sin to Christ, and Christ’s Righteousness to Us

Justification and Imputation
• 2 Cor 5:21: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. • Rom 5:17-19: For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Justification and Imputation
• Once Christ took on our sin, God then fulfilled the demands of his justice through the death of his son. • Rom 3:21-26: But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 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; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Justification Is a Verdict of “Not Guilty”

Justification = Not Guilty
• Matt 12:37: For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. • Rom 3:19-20: Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

Justification = “Not Guilty”
• Rom 8:1: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. • Rom 5:16: The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. • Some have objected to the forensic (“not guilty”) character of justification, calling it a “legal fiction.” • You are declared not guilty even though you are.

Justification = “Not Guilty”
• But is this really what we’re saying, • “You’re not guilty even though you are”? • Not at all.

Justification = “Not Guilty”
• Justification does not mean that God looks at you “just-as-if you never sinned.” • Justification means that God declares the ungodly not guilty because Jesus has been condemned as guilty in our place.

Justification = “Not Guilty”
• Bearing shame and scoffing rude/In my place condemned he stood/Sealed my pardon with his blood/Hallelujah! What a savior! • Guilty, vile, and helpless we/Spotless lamb of God was he/Full atonement, can it be?/Hallelujah! What a savior!

Justification = “Not Guilty”
• Justification allows us to be ungodly persons constituted righteous in God’s sight through our union with Christ ( which involves the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us). • The forensic component of justification does not turn salvation into a legal fiction; rather, it is a sovereign declaration of what is true of us by virtue of our union with Christ.

Justification Is Received by Faith Alone

Justification, By Faith Alone
• Without faith there is no justification • Faith alone, plus or minus nothing is all that is required for justification • The ground of justification • Romanism and justification

Justification, By Faith Alone
• Without faith there is no justification
– Rom 3:25a-26: …whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith….26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Gal 2:16: …nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• Without faith there is no justification
– See Romans 4 – Rom 5:1: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• Faith alone, plus or minus nothing is all that is required for justification
– Eph 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Rom 3:20: …because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• Faith alone, plus or minus nothing is all that is required for justification
– Gal 2:16: …nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. – Gal 3:11: Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." – Gal 5:4: You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• Faith alone, plus or minus nothing, is all that is required for justification. • Without faith no one can be justified. • But this does not mean that faith is the ultimate cause of our justification.
– It is the instrumental cause of our justification – Grudem’s paycheck illustration

Justification, By Faith Alone
• Without faith there is no justification
– We are not justified by faith, we are justified by God through faith. – Our trust in Christ is not the ground of our justification. Praise the Lord! – How often has your faith faltered?! – The ground of our justification is the work of God in Jesus Christ.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• The ground of our justification is not faith, but the work of God in Jesus Christ
– Rom 3:24-25a: …being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. – Rom 8:33-34: Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• The ground of our justification is not faith, but the work of God in Jesus Christ
– Rom 3:21-22: But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction. – Rom 10:3: For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• The ground of our justification is not faith, but the work of God in Jesus Christ
– Rom 5:17-19: For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• The ground of our justification is not faith, but the work of God in Jesus Christ
– Rom 8:1: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Gal 2:17: But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! – Phil 3:9: …and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.

Justification, By Faith Alone
• Objection to justification by faith alone, plus or minus nothing: • What about Jas 2:24?
– Jas 2:24: You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
• Justification in James • Faith and works in James • Different example from Abraham’s life

Summary of Justification
• Justification is the act of God’s free grace by which he justly pardons all our sins, imputes our sin to Christ and Christ’s righteousness to us, accepts us as righteous in his sight, and declares us not guilty. • Justification is received by faith alone.

Justification and Roman Catholicism

Justification and Catholicism
• “The Holy Spirit has the power to justify us…through faith in Christ and through Baptism” (1994 RCC, par. 1987). • “Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man” (1994 RCC, par. 1989 citing with approval Council of Trent). • “Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy” (1994 RCC, par. 1992).

Justification and Catholicism
• “[J]ustification entails the sanctification of [the inner man’s] whole being” (1994 RCC, par. 1995). • “Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man” (1994 RCC, par. 2019). • “[N]o one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life” (1994 RCC, par. 2010, italics in original).

Justification
Immense Practical Implications

Justification: Implications
• The doctrine of justification means…that in God’s sight the ungodly man, now “in Christ,” has perfectly kept the moral law of God, which also means in turn that “in Christ” he has perfectly loved God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and his neighbor as himself. • It means that saving faith is directed to the doing and dying of Christ alone…and not to the good works or inner experience of the believer. • It means that the Christian’s righteousness before God is in heaven at the right hand of God in Jesus Christ and not on earth within the believer. • It means that the ground of our justification is the vicarious work of Christ for us, not the gracious work of the Spirit in us.

Justification: Implications
• It means that the faith-righteousness of justification is not personal but vicarious, not infused but imputed, not experiential but judicial, not psychological but legal, not our own but a righteousness alien to us and outside of us…, not earned but graciously given…through faith in Christ that is itself a gift of grace. • It means also in its declarative character that justification possesses and eschatological dimension….By God’s act of justifying the sinner through faith in Christ, the sinner, as it were, has been brought, “before the time,” to the Final Assize and has already passed successfully through it, having been acquitted of any and all charges brought against him!

Justification: Implications
• Your salvation is secure. • You will never be punished by God for your sin. • We will have a tendency to bring our sanctification into our justification, and when we do we miss the gospel.

Justification: Implications
• The cross chart
God’s Holiness

Christ’s Work on the Cross

My Sinfulness

Justification: Implications
• The cross chart

God’s Holiness Antinomianism Christ’s Work on the Cross Legalism My Sinfulness

Justification: Implications
• The cross chart
God’s Holiness Christ’s Work on the Cross

My Sinfulness

Justification: Implications
• 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 God’s holiness and 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. Many others have a theoretical commitment to this doctrine, but in their day-to-day existence they rely on their sanctification for justification...drawing their assurance of acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience. Few know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther’s platform: you are accepted, looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly alien righteousness of Christ as the only ground for acceptance.

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