The Doctrine Of Justification

It’s a new year but I want that old time religion!john_gill

John Gill explains the heart of the Gospel – the doctrine of justification:

Justification is an act of God’s free grace, whereby he clears his people from sin, discharges them from condemnation, and reckons and accounts them righteous for the sake of Christ’s righteousness, which he has accepted of, and imputes unto them. Some very excellent divines have distinguished justification into active and passive.

Active justification is God’s act, it is God that justifies;

passive justification is the same act, terminating on the conscience of the believer;

active justification is strictly and properly justification,

passive justification is improperly so;

active justification precedes faith,

passive justification is by faith.

Again, justification may be considered either in foro Dei, and so it is an eternal, immanent act in God: or in foro conscientiae, and so it is declarative to and upon the conscience of the believer; or in foro mundi, and so it will be notified to men and angels at the general judgement.

The Everlasting Covenant of Redemption

covenant02

God the Father is the contriver of the scheme and method of our justification; he was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses; (2 Cor. 5:19) he drew the model and platform of it, which is Nodus Deo vindice dignus. It would have remained a puzzling question to men and angels, how should man be just with God? had not his grace employed his wisdom to find out a ransom, whereby he has delivered his people from going down to the pit of corruption; which ransom is no other than his own Son, whom he sent, in the fullness of time, to execute the scheme he had so wisely formed in his eternal mind which he did by finishing transgression, making an end of sin

 

, making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in an everlasting righteousness; which righteousness, being wrought out by Christ, God was well pleased with, because hereby his law was magnified and made honourable; and, having graciously accepted of it, he imputes it freely to all his people, and reckons their righteous on the account of it.

God the Son, as God, is the co-efficient cause of it, with his Father. As he has equal power with him to forgive sin, he also has to acquit, discharge, and justify from it. As Mediator, he is the Head and Representative; in whom all the seed of Israel are justified; as such, he has wrought out a righteousness, answerable to the demands of the law, by which they are justified; and is the Author and Finisher of that faith, which looks unto, lays hold on, and apprehends that righteousness for justification.

God the Holy Ghost convinces men of the weakness, imperfection, and insufficiency of their own righteousness to justify them before God; he brings near, and sets before them, the righteousness of Christ, and works faith in them to lay hold on it, and receive it; he intimates to their consciences the justifying sentence of God, on the account of Christ’s righteousness, and bears a testimony to and with their spirits, that they are justified persons; and hence the saints are said to be justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God; (1 Cor. 6:11) but this testimony of the Spirit is not so properly justification in itself, as an actual perception of it, before granted, by a kind of a reflex act of faith, as Dr. Ames expresses it. Now this is the part which Father, Son, and Spirit, severally bear in justification: the Father has contrived it, the Son has procured it, and the Spirit applies it. 

 

One Last Thing

It is an act of God’s free Grace: Being justified freely by his grace. (Rom. 3:24) It was grace that resolved on, and fixed the scheme and method of justification: and which called and moved Christ to engage as a surety for his people; and which sent him, in the fullness of time, to work out a righteousness for them. And then it was grace in God to accept of this righteousness for them, and to impute it to them, and bestow faith on them to receive it; especially will all this appear to be free grace, when it is considered that these persons are all by nature sinners, and ungodly ones; yea, many of them the chief of sinners.

It is universal and not partial. All God’s elect are justified, and that from all things, as in our text, that is, from all their sins, and are freed from all that punishment which is due unto them. The whole righteousness of Christ is imputed to them; by being hereby justified, they are perfect and complete in him.grace

 It is an individual act, which is done at once, and admits of no degrees. The sins of God’s elect were laid at once on Christ, and he made satisfaction for them at once. God accepted of Christ’s righteousness, and imputed it at once unto his people, who all have their sins and transgressions forgiven at once. The sense of justification, indeed, admits of degrees: for the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; (Rom. 1:17) but justification itself does not. There are several fresh declarations, or manifestations, or repetitions of the act of justification; as at the resurrection of Christ; and again, by the testimony of the Spirit to the conscience of the believer; and last of all, at the general judgement, before men and angels. But justification, as it is an act of God, is but one, and is done at once, and admits of no degrees; and is not carried on in a gradual and progressive way as sanctification is.

 It is equal to all, or all are alike justified. The same price was paid for the redemption of one, as for another; and the same righteousness is imputed to one, as to another; and, like precious faith, is given to one, as to another though not to all in the same degree, yet the weakest believer is as much justified as the strongest, and the greatest sinner as the smallest. Though one man may have more sanctifying grace than another, yet no man has more justifying righteousness than another.

It is irreversible and unalterable. It is according to an immutable decree, which can never be frustrated. It is one of God’s gifts, which are without repentance: it is one of the blessings of the covenant of grace, which can never be broken. The righteousness by which the saints are justified is an everlasting one; and that faith, by which they receive it, shall never fail: And though a righteous man may fall into sin, yet he shall never fall from his righteousness, nor shall he ever enter into condemnation, but be eternally glorified.

 Justification, though it frees persons from sin, and discharges them from punishment due unto it, yet it does not take sin out of them. By it, indeed, they are freed from sin, insomuch that God sees no iniquity in them to condemn them for it. Though he sees and beholds all the sins of his people, in articulo providentiae, in respect of providence, and chastises them for them; yet in articulo justificationis, in respect of justification, he sees none in them; they being acquitted, discharged, and justified from all. Nevertheless sin dwells in them For there is not a just man upon earth that liveth and sinneth not. (Eccl. 7:20)

It does not destroy the law, nor discourage a careful performance of good works. It does not destroy the law, or make it void; no, it establishes it; for the righteousness by which we are justified, is every way commensurate to the demands of the law; by it the law is magnified, and made honourable. Nor are persons, by this doctrine, discouraged from the performance of good works; for this doctrine of grace teaches men, That denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, they should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. (Titus 2:11, 12) To conclude: If your souls are under the powerful and comfortable influence of this doctrine, you will, in the first place, bless God for Jesus Christ, by whose obedience you are made righteous: You will value his justifying righteousness, and make mention of it at all proper times; you will glory alone in Christ, and will give the whole glory of your justification to him; and will be earnestly and studiously desirous of having your conversations as become the gospel of Christ, and this truth of it in particular.

(complete article here)

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Election

Election

Here are eleven things expressly taught in the Word of God about election:

1. Election is “IN CHRIST.” No less than fourteen times in the first fourteen verses of Ephesians chapter one the Holy Spirit expressly tells us that every benefit and blessing of grace that comes to sinners from God is in Christ.

2. Election is UNTO SALVATION. Certainly, there is a sense in which it must be said that God’s elect were saved from eternity (Rom. 8:29); but we must never be deceived into thinking that election is salvation. Election is unto salvation. Election is not, as some teach, unto “Christian service.” Election is unto salvation.

3. Election is an act of pure, absolute, DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY. God has mercy on whom he will have mercy (Rom. 9:11-18). God was not moved by anything outside Himself to choose the people He chose to save.

4. Election took place in ETERNITY. God did not choose His people in time, but before time began, in eternity. He chose us before the foundation of the world, from the beginning, when nothing existed except God Himself in the tri-unity of the eternal Godhead.

5. The source and cause of election is God’s eternal LOVE for His people. He loved us freely, from everlasting, before ever the earth was made. Our love to Him is not the cause of His love toward us, but the result (Jer. 31:3; 1 Jn. 4:19).

6. God’s election was an act of free, UNCONDITIONAL grace. Grace is always free and unconditional. The moment a condition is put to it, it ceases to be grace. To say that God chose us because of something He foresaw in us, or foresaw we would chose to do, is to frustrate the grace of God, making it the reward of our work (Rom. 11:6).

7. Election is God’s PERSONAL choice of specific sinners to eternal life in Christ. Here is a sweet cordial of grace which shall never cease to amaze and rejoice the hearts of believing sinners – The Lord God chose me to eternal salvation in Christ, because He loved me with an everlasting, unconditional love!

8. Election is IRREVERSIBLE. “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29). Those who were chosen to salvation in eternity shall not be unchosen in time!

9. Election is EFFECTUAL. There is no possibility that one of God’s elect shall perish (2 Tim. 2:19).

10. Election is DISTINGUISHING. To talk of universal love in God toward reprobate men is to talk nonsense. Read Isaiah 43:1-4! 11. Election is BLESSED, for it is the cause of all blessedness (Ps. 65:4; Eph. 1:3-6).

Don Fortner

The Christ of Arminianism

(First posted on Feileadh Mor 6 years ago.)

The Christ of Arminianism

Rev. Steven Houck

1. The Christ of Arminianism – loves every individual person in the world and sincerely desires their salvation.

The Christ of the Bible – earnestly loves and desires the salvation of only those whom God has unconditionally chosen to salvation. (Ps. 5:5, Ps. 7:11, Ps. 11:5, Matt. 11:27, John 17:9-10, Acts 2:47, Acts 13:48, Rom. 9:10-13, Rom. 9:21-24, Eph. 1:3-4)

2. The Christ of Arminianism – offers salvation to every sinner and does all in his power to bring them to salvation. His offer and work are often frustrated, for many refuse to come.

The Christ of the Bible – effectually calls to Himself only the elect and sovereignly brings them to salvation. Not one of them will be lost. (Isa. 55:11, John 5:21, John 6:37-40, John 10:25-30, John 17:2, Phil. 2:13)
3. The Christ of Arminianism – can not regenerate and save a sinner who does not first choose Christ with his own “free will.” All men have a “free will” by which they can either accept or reject Christ. That “free will” may not be violated by Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – sovereignly regenerates the elect sinner apart from his choice, for without regeneration the spiritually dead sinner can not choose Christ. Faith is not man’s contribution to salvation but the gift of Christ which He sovereignly imparts in regeneration. (John 3:3, John 6:44 & 65, John 15:16, Acts 11:18, Rom. 9:16, Eph. 2:1,Eph. 2:8-10, Phil. 1:29, Hebr. 12:2)

4. The Christ of Arminianism – died on the cross for every individual person and thereby made it possible for every person to be saved. His death, apart from the choice of man, was not able to actually save anyone for many for whom he died are lost.

The Christ of the Bible – died for only God’s elect people and thereby actually obtained salvation for all those for whom He died. His death was a substitutionary satisfaction which actually took away the guilt of His chosen people. (Luke 19:10, John 10:14-15 & 26, Acts 20:28, Rom. 5:10, Eph. 5:25, Hebr. 9:12, I Peter 3:18)
5. The Christ of Arminianism – loses many whom he has “saved” because they do not continue in faith. Even if he does give them “eternal security,” as some say, that security is not based upon his will or work but the choice which the sinner made when he accepted Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – preserves His chosen people so that they can not lose their salvation but persevere in the faith to the very end. He preserves them by the sovereign electing will of God, the power of His death, and the mighty working of His Spirit. (John 5:24, John 10:26-29, Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 8:35-39, I Peter 1:2-5, Jude 24-25)

As you can see, although the Christ of Arminianism and the Christ of the Bible may at first seem to be the same, they are very different. One is a false Christ. The other is the true Christ. One is weak and helpless. He bows before the sovereign “free will” of man. The other is the reigning Lord Who wills what He pleases and sovereignly accomplishes all that He wills.

If you believe and serve the Christ of Arminianism, you must recognize the fact that you do not serve the Christ of the Bible. You have been deceived! Study the Scriptures and learn of the True Christ. Pray for grace to repent and trust Christ as your sovereign Savior.

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (pt 11)

 THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT SALVATION IS GIVEN BY OUR SOVEREIGN GOD:

Whatever God commands, wills and ordains will be accomplished. If God seeks to save that which was lost, have faith, He will save them.

So shall my word be that  goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it  shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing  whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:11)

The Arminian free will tradition teaches that we are to “get saved” by conceding to the truth of the Gospel which leads to our spiritual regeneration. This is often called “decisional regeneration,” where the creatures faith acts as the key ingredient to kick start our salvation. Salvation is given through Jesus Christ alone, based on the love of God and His mercy toward us, and not gained through our actions. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. (Joh 3:27)

The modern Evangelical tradition supporting free will believes that Christ desperately wants to save all of humanity but is not able to do so because of libertarian free will. Christ was sent to “seek and save that which was lost” and will accomplish what He sets out to do for He has “power over all flesh” and will give freely to “as many as” God the Father “hast given him.”

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2)

Salvation is freely given and not based on the will of man.

So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (Rom 9:16)

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. (1 Cor 3:6-7)

It is God who makes the difference.

For  who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou  didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as  if thou hadst not received it? (1 Cor 4)

Even our good works after spiritual regeneration find their beginning in God.

Wherefore,  my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but  now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and  trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Phil 2:12-13)

We are born again, begat by the word of truth, it is given to us and not gained by our actions.

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (Jam 1:18)

We have an understanding of spiritual things because it was “given” to us.

And  we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an  understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that  is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and  eternal life. (1 Joh 5:20)

Yours in the Lord,

jm

The Free Offer of the Gospel

pinkPrimitive, Gospel Standard and other Baptists have argued against “the free offer of the Gospel” and “duty faith.” Some High and Ultra High Calvinists will say God has no love for the reprobate and I agree but wouldn’t spend much time going further than that. A. W. Pink is one who has written that God has no love for the reprobate and his work is free online here. Pink also believed everyone was duty bound to believe savingly and his view could be read here.
The Gospel Standard Articles of Faith explain:

We believe that it would be unsafe, from the brief records we have, of the way in which the Apostles, under the immediate direction of our Lord, addressed their hearers in certain special cases and circumstances, to derive absolute and universal rules for ministerial addresses in the present day under widely different circumstances. And we further believe that an assumption that others have been inspired as the Apostles were, has led to the grossest errors among both Romanists and Protestants. Therefore, that for ministers in this present day to address unconverted persons, or indiscriminately all in a mixed congregation, calling upon them to savingly repent, believe, and receive Christ, or perform any other acts dependent upon the new creative power of the Holy Ghost, is, on the one hand, to imply creature power, and on the other to deny the doctrine of special redemption.

Below you will find a video that explains some of the arguments for the “free offer” and/or “duty faith” examined. The audio blogger brings up some good points that need further consideration.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Do you pray against antichrist? (WITH SOURCE)

Thanks to Jason Giles for the source of the Spurgeon quote:prayagainstantichrist

“It is the duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it is not the Popery in the Church of Rome and in the Church of England, there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. If there were to be issued a hue and cry for Antichrist, we should certainly take up those two churches on suspicion, and they certainly would not be let loose again, for they so exactly answer the description. Popery anywhere, whether it be Anglican or Romish, is contrary to Christ’s Gospel, and is the Antichrist, and we ought to pray against it. It should be the daily prayer of every Believer that Antichrist might be hurled like a millstone into the flood and sink to rise no more. If we can pray against error for Christ because it wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His Glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His Atonement, and lifts a piece of bread into the place of the Savior, and a few drops of water into the place of the Holy Spirit, and puts a mere fallible man like ourselves up as the Vicar of Christ on earth; if we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors; we shall love their souls though we loathe and detest their dogmas, and so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened, because we turn our faces towards Christ when we pray. We are to pray for Him.”

– PRAY FOR JESUS
NO. 717
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 21, 1866,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

(I took the photo last month while sitting outside a Roman church after praying against antichrist and praying for the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. )

no sovereignty = no grace

there can be no grace where there is no sovereignty

Context: bonar

“Man’s entire apostasy and death in sin, so that he cannot save himself; and God’s entire supremacy, so that He saves whom He will, are doctrines exceedingly distasteful to human pride. But they are Scriptural.

Why was one thief saved and the other lost? “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Mat 11:26). God was not bound to save the one, and He had power enough to have saved the other; and neither could save himself. What made the difference? The sovereign grace of God.

Why was Paul saved and Judas lost? Was it because the former deserved to be saved and the latter to be lost? No, neither deserved to be saved. Was it because the one was a fitting object for the grace of God and the other not? No, the one was no more a fitting object than the other.

Why was it that Judea was made a land of light and Egypt remained a region of darkness? Who made the difference? Man or God? Was God unjust in leaving Egypt in the shadow of death when He made light to arise on Israel? What had Israel done to deserve a privilege like this?

None have deserved salvation. No man is more fit for it than another. God was not bound to save any. God might have saved all. Yet He has only saved some. Is He, then, unjust in only saving some when He could have saved all? Objectors say, “Oh, those who are lost are lost because they rejected Christ.” But did not all equally reject Him at first? What made the unbelief of some give way? Was it because they willed it or because God put forth His power in them? Surely the latter. Might He not, then, have put forth His power in all and prevented any from rejecting the Savior? Yet He did not. Why? Because so it seemed good in His sight.

Is it unjust of God to save only a few when all are equally doomed to die? If not, is there any injustice in His determining aforehand to save these few and leave the rest unsaved? They could not save themselves; and was it unjust in Him to resolve in His infinite wisdom to save them? Or was it unjust in Him not to resolve to save all? Had all perished there would have been no injustice with Him. How is it possible that there can be injustice in His resolving to save some?

There can be no grace when there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom He will and you deny His right to save whom He will. Deny His right to save whom He will and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any desert or fitness in man, seen or foreseen, grace is at an end.” – Horatius Bonar