Chapter 11, Of Justification

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  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, they receiving, and resting on him, and his righteousness, by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is a gift of God. (Romans 3:24;Romans 8:30; Romans 4:5-8; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; Romans 5:17-19; Philippians 3:8, 9; Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; Romans 5:17)

The doctrine of justification is one for which we can hardly overestimate. R.C. Sproul states: “Luther declared in the sixteenth century that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is the article upon which the church stands or falls.  Calvin used a different metaphor; he said it is the hinge upon which everything turns.”[1] And so it will do us well to slow down and make sure we are giving this doctrine the proper attention it deserves.

The Confession begins: Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth. When God effectually calls the elect, he also will justify them. Romans 8:30b states: “And those whom he called he also justified” (ESV). The first act, calling leads without fail to the second act: justification—forming an unbroken chain. God freely justifies. The Confession speaks here of God’s freedom or sovereignty to justify. Just as in effectual calling God sovereignly gives his grace, so also in justification; it is freely given by his sovereign action. This reflects the Scriptures: “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24 ESV). Grace is a gift; and gifts by nature are not obligatory or contingent upon the receiver, but freely given by the Giver.

What is the nature of justification? The Confession first indicates what justification is not. It is “not by infusing righteousness into them. Infusing means “the action of infusing some principle, quality or idea, into the mind, soul or heart.”[2]  The Roman Church views justification as a process whereby righteousness is actually infused into a person. The Roman Church’s catechism states: “Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.”[3] Justification for the Roman Catholic Church is not a legal pronouncement by God that we are righteous, but an actual implantation of righteousness into our nature which results in the actual practice of righteousness. David Dickson, in his 1684 commentary on the Westminster Confession, uses the word ‘inherent” to refer to infusion. I find this a helpful synonym. Dickson states that if inherent righteousness did justify us, then good works would justify us; but the Scripture denies that.”[4] Thus justification is not implanting a righteous nature into us which then acts perfectly righteous. If that were so, then the moment we acted unrighteous, then we would become unjustified, and have to be re-justified all over again.

The Confession now gives us an affirmative statement about the nature of justification: but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous.[5] So justification is the forgiveness of sins, and the accounting and accepting us as though we were actually righteous. This is commonly referred to as imputed righteousness. God accounts and accepts us as righteous. A.A. Hodge states: “This justification is a purely judicial act of God as judge, whereby he pardons all the sins of a believer, and accounts, accepts, and treats him as a person righteous in the eye of the divine law.”[6] This does not involve the infusion of righteousness into their nature; in fact, it does not involve a change in their nature at all. It is strictly forensic or legal. John Murray writes:

  •  “That justification does not mean to make holy or upright should be apparent from common use.  When we justify a person we do not make a person good or upright.  When a judge justifies an accused person he does not make that person an upright person.  He simply declares that in his judgment the person is not guilty of the accusation but is upright in terms of the law relevant to the case.  In a word, justification is simply a declaration or pronouncement respecting the relation of the person to the law which he, the judge, is required to administer.  It might be, of course, that our common use would not be the same as the use of the term in Scripture.  Scripture must be its own interpreter.  And the question is: does Scripture usage accord with common use?  This question is very easily answered.  The answer is that Scripture uses the term in the same way.” [7]

So if justification is a forensic declaration bringing no change of nature, then what does bring about a change in our nature—a desire to actually do righteousness? In our effectual call, the Spirit regenerates us, and brings about a change in our nature from the old to new. Regeneration creates that longing in us to obey God and pursue it. John Murray states: “Regeneration is an act in us; justification is a judgment of God with respect to us.” [8]

At this point it would be natural to discuss sanctification, which results from the regenerated nature not justification, but we will save that for chapter 13, Of Santification. Suffice it to say, in looking at salvation as a whole, God does not only justify a person, but he also causes them to progress in the practice of holiness or practical righteousness, but that work of God in us distinct from justification. In the Baptist Catechism, a helpful distinction is made between an act of God and a work of God: justification is an act of God (question 36), whereas sanctification is a work of God (question 38).

What is the significance of accounted or imputed righteousness? It is one thing to be pardoned for sin—and it is an amazingly gracious thing—but justification is not merely pardon for sin; it is much more. James White helpfully states: “If the righteousness that is imputed to the believer were a bare pardon or forgiveness, then he would be left at a neutral point, having no active obedience to the law of God to plead before the holy judge.  But since the elect are joined with Christ, their Head, His active, positive obedience to the Father is imputed to them as part of His righteousness just as His suffering in their stead provides them with redemption and release.” [9]

 What does the Word of God say about us about the accounting of righteousness? Here are a few references:

  •  And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (Romans 4:5-8 ESV).
  • He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Cor 1:30-31 ESV).
  •  If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:17-19 ESV).  
  •  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (Phil. 3:8-9 ESV).

The Confession has given us a negative and a positive statement regarding the nature of justification in relation to righteousness. Now it proceeds to the basis of justification, also in the form of a series of contrasting negative and positive statements. The basis for God’s accounting and acceptance of their persons as righteous is: not for anything wrought in them, or done by them. And put positively: but for Christ’s sake alone. The Roman Church holds to a synergistic system of faith and works, and even though the works are alleged to come from God’s work of grace in the person, nonetheless works are required along with faith. The Confession rejects even that kind contribution to one’s justification. The Roman view is a subtle and insidious encroachment upon Christ’s righteousness—the sole basis for justification. God accepts us as righteous on account of Christ’s righteousness alone—not even a small part of our so-called righteousness. The reality is that we have no righteousness to add in the first place for “none is righteous, no, not one” (Rm. 3:10).

The Confession continues to issue denials: Not by imputing faith itself…as their righteousness. While faith is the sole instrument by which we are justified, yet it is not faith that is imputed or deposited into our account, but rather Christ’s righteousness. The second denial is: Not by imputing…the act of believing…as their righteousness. Just as faith itself is not imputed into our account as righteousness, so also the “act” of faith is not imputed or deposited into our account as our righteousness. If it were, then the act of believing—a work of our own action—would be credited into our account. Our account would not be full of righteousness then, but only full of our own act of believing. The point is that God cannot accept us a righteous in his sight based on anything but Christ’s perfect righteousness. No other work will do, but Christ’s righteousness alone. The third denial is: not by imputing…any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness. So as if to leave no possible loop-hole, all the remaining bases are covered. What is meant by evangelical obedience? It means any obedience related to God’s gospel call to repent and believe. Our obedience to the gospel call is merely a response to God’s work in us, and not even a single aspect of our obedient response to the effectual call is credited to us as righteousness. No, it is solely and only Christ’s righteousness that is deposited into our account, as it is only his righteousness that can satisfy God’s righteous demands. Only when God’s righteous standards are met, will God accept us in his sight. A. A. Hodge states of evangelical obedience: “Arminians hold that for Christ’s sake the demands of the law are graciously lowered, and faith and evangelical obedience accepted in the place of perfect obedience as the ground of justification.  Our Standards and all the Reformed and Lutheran Confessions teach that the true ground for justification is the perfect righteousness (active and passive) of Christ, imputed to the believer, and received by faith alone.” [10]

The Confession now moves from what is not imputed (the prior “not by” denials), to show what is imputed: 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. Imputation Justification is based upon another’s righteousness (an alien righteousness) imputed to us. It is wholly not of us, and is wholly of Christ. It is one hundred percent Christ’s righteousness, and zero percent our substandard righteousness; we have no righteousness to bring to the table. The righteousness imputed is Christ’s righteousness alone! But this righteousness is not simply the attribute of righteousness found in the divine Logos, rather it is the righteousness of Christ’s actual obedience, as the second Adam. This is seen in two ways: active obedience and passive obedience. Christ’s active obedience refers to his “obedience to the whole law”—from birth to death. His passive obedience refers to his receiving the penalty of breaking the law as if he had himself broken the law, and that penalty was death. By these two acts of obedience, Christ paid the debt we could not pay, and lived the perfect life we could not live, so that he is our whole and sole righteousness.

Thus they receiving, and resting on him, and his righteousness, by faith. Justification is receiving Christ and his righteousness by faith. It is resting on Christ and his righteousness by faith. It is not doing anything that counts toward our righteousness; rather it is receiving and resting on Christ’s righteousness alone, by faith alone. In fact, even faith is from God, not from us. The Confession adds: which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God. This statement is a reflection of Ephesians 2:8-9 which states: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (ESV). This passage indicates that faith is not of one’s own doing, but it is a gift of God. Just because we exercise faith (God does not exercise it for us), does not mean that the ability to believe originated within us. Faith is a gift from God, therefore, “no one may boast.”

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  1. Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love. (Romans 3:28; Galatians 5:6; James 2:17, 22, 26 )

The Confession advances the prior point made about faith by stating that the nature of faith is its action of receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness. The Westminster Divines put much discussion in the issue of the action of faith,[11] and we are the beneficiaries of their carefully worded statement in the 1689 Confession. This God given faith receives Christ and his righteousness. Faith is not a passive reception of Christ and his righteousness, or a mere intellectual assent to the fact of Christ’s work; rather, it is an active receiving and resting on him. We see this reflected in John’s Gospel: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13 ESV). We see in this passage that those who receive (an action) and believe (an action) were adopted as God’s children. Faith does not rest on itself, as if faith was doing the justifying. Faith is not its own object, rather faith has an object. The object of faith is Christ, and it should not in any way rest upon anything but him and his righteousness. Biblical faith is not like the Disney version of faith that says, “Just believe.” Believe in what? That is like saying, “Just buy.” Well, buy what? An object is required. The object of faith is Christ and his righteousness.

The Confession then states this faith is the alone instrument of justification. So while faith is not the substance, basis, or contributing merit towards justification, yet it is the instrument of justification. But what is meant by “instrument,” and why is it important?

In paragraph one, the Confession has taken great effort to explain what faith is not in justification, but now it clarifies the role faith actually has in justification. Its role in justification is that it is the instrument of justification. R.C. Sproul states:  “The instrumental cause of our justification is faith, but when we say that we are justified by faith alone, we do not mean that faith is a meritorious work that adds anything to the ground of our justification. What difference does that make practically?  There are people who say they believe in justification by faith alone, but who rely on their faith as if it were meritorious or a good work that will satisfy the demands of God’s justice.  The fact that a person possesses faith adds no merit to his account.  It adds infinite merit to his account by imputation, but it is the merit of Christ that is imputed to him.  We can receive Christ’s merit only by faith, and there is no merit in that.  The only one who can save us is Christ, and the only way we can get access to him is through faith.  Do not rest upon anything else in your life except Christ and his righteousness for your salvation.” [12]

The Confession states, yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love. While faith alone justifies, that faith is not alone, it will have other graces with it. God does not only grace people with faith; if he gives them faith, he also gives them other graces. Notice that the Confession calls them “saving graces.” Thus these graces are not merely optional “cherry-on-the-top” of faith, kind of graces. They are graces by which you can observe whether or not someone has saving faith. “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17 ESV). Or, “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works” (James 2:22 ESV). And, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26 ESV). Works do not precede faith, but they certainly will follow it. The Confession recognizes that though works follow faith, even those works are graces!  The works that follow faith flow from a renewed heart, and are worked by love. This Confessional wording is an allusion to Galatians 5:6:  “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love (ESV).

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  1. Christ by his obedience, and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf: yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. (Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Isaiah 53:5, 6; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:21;Romans 3:26; Ephesians 1:6,7;Ephesians 2:7)

The Confession says: Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross. Christ’s obedience and death was said in paragraph 1 to be the “whole and sole righteousness” of the justified, but here it is stated in terms of a full discharge of the debt of those justified. Paul said in Colossians 2:14: “By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (ESV). This passage indicates that God nailed the Certificate of Debt to the cross. A Certificate of Debt was a legal document in the New Testament time which officially declared one’s legal financial obligation to pay a debt. That obligation of debt was paid in full by Christ’s obedience to the law and penalty of it in his death, and the Certificate of Debt has stamped in blood red ink, “Paid in Full!” Hallelujah, what a Savior! You will notice that it discharged the debt, not for all, but only for those justified. Until God’s act of justification has occurred, the elect remain in debt for their sin. Christ’s death was not a natural death; rather it was a cruel, bloody atonement on a cross. Scripture states: “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.(Colossians 1:20b ESV)

 The Confession continues: undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf. By use of the words, “in their stead,” and then, “in their behalf,” we see the teaching of substitutionary atonement. Jesus received God’s punishment instead of the elect receiving it. The penalty Jesus paid for our sin was an atonement that was: proper, real, and full, in relation to satisfying God’s justice. The word proper means “fit, apt… what is required”[13] Christ’s sacrifice was indeed “what is required.” It was the required atonement to satisfaction God’s justice in behalf of the elect.   Real means, “that which is actually truly such as its name implies; pertaining to the essential qualities denoted by its name; hence genuine, undoubted.”[14] Christ’s sacrifice of himself was of such a substance or quality that it actually satisfied the justice of God. It was a tangible atonement of substance offered to the Father, and it satisfied his divine justice. Full means, “having within its limits all it will hold; having no space, empty; replete.”[15] Christ’s atonement fulfilled God’s requirement for justice. The required justice had reached its capacity, and there was no space left for more satisfaction. Thus God’s justice was fully and exactly met; God required no more satisfaction of justice, since the legal requirement was complete, finished and full. Together, these three words paint a picture of the perfect work of Christ. Scripture says: “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14 ESV). And, “…you were ransomed… with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV).

The remaining half of paragraph 3 states: yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. We have so focused upon the perfection of Christ’s work that one might think the Father had no choice but to accept such a perfect work on our behalf. But Christ’s “obedience and satisfaction were both “freely accepted in our stead by the Father. R.C. Sproul states: “The Father is not bound by justice to accept that payment. But, in his grace, he willingly accepts the payment that has been made in our behalf, the vicarious satisfaction of his justice by Christ.”[16] As a result of God freedom, “justification is only of free grace.” It is a grace the Father sovereignly gives of his own pleasure and purpose. The result of sovereign grace in justification is: that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. It is by the justification of the sinner that God glorifies both his perfect justice and rich grace. “So that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26b ESV).
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  1. God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them. (Galatians 3:8; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Timothy 2:6; Romans 4:25; Colossians 1:21,22;Titus 3:4-7)

While 1) God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and 2) Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and 3) did rise again for their justification, yet the Confession declares they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them. Points 1 to 3, speak of redemption accomplished, but redemption accomplished must also be personally applied.[17] Thus election occurs in eternity, Christ’s atonement in time, in the first century, but it is not until the due time of God’s appointing that the Holy Spirit will actually apply that redemption to each elect, personally and individually. This is important lest it be concluded that the elect are justified in eternity along with the eternal decree of election.[18] Or, lest one think that that by Christ’s atonement the elect are automatically each personally actually justified.[19] The elect are justified in the time of God’s appointing, just as they are effectually called in the time of God’s appointing (10:1).

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  1. God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance. (Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:7, 9; John 10:28; Psalms 89:31-33; Psalms 32:5; Psalms 51; Matthew 26:75)

 God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified. This is great news, in fact, the good news. In what state would we be if through the gospel we were forgiven our past sins, but there was no provision of forgiveness for our present and future sins? Justification, a legal declaration that we are accepted by God (because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us) is not a temporal declaration by God. It is a permanent, non-rescinding declaration. And this is where the error of the Romanist view of an infused righteousness in justification is highlighted, because sinners do not stop sinning when justified. A forensic, declared righteousness is not affected by the failure to remain perfectly righteous as one continues to grow in the Christian walk. Is it any wonder the Roman Catholic has no assurance of salvation—there is no hope of remaining justified before God?

But, although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure. Thus, the justified can never justify sinning. The justified person, already having been regenerated (made into a new creation) cannot sin freely without falling under God’s fatherly displeasure, and knowing it. The justified do not want to sin because they do not want to displease the Father. If they do, in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance. We see in Scripture David’s misery while under the Father’s displeasure in Psalm 51. But we also see in that Psalm David humbling himself, confessing his sin, begging pardon, and for the joy of salvation to be returned.

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  1. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament. (Galatians 3:9; Romans 4:22-24)

All this talk about Christ’s perfect obedience and his sacrifice which satisfied God’s justice, may lead one to ask, “What about people before Christ’s life, death, and resurrection? Justification is not restricted to the New Testament. We find references to justification in the Old Testament, and the New Testament confirms the justification of many in the Old Testament. We see in Genesis 15: 6 that Abraham believed and God accounted to him as righteousness. The Apostle Paul says Romans of Abraham: “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:19-25 ESV). Also in Galatians, “So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith(Gal 3:9 ESV). These passages very clearly support the justification of believers in the Old Testament. The fact that they are called “believers” indicates the presence of justification by faith.

The Confession states regarding the justification of Old Testament believers that it was in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament. This is referring us back to all that has been said in this chapter regarding justification. When we reflect back on this entire chapter, all of it was just as true for the Old Testament believers as it is for the New Testament believer. When one grasps this truth, one realizes that among other things, the Old Testament has much to offer the New Testament believer since we have much in common with the writings of those old saints.

One can hardly overestimate the importance of the doctrine of justification, and the doctrine summarized in the Confession is vitally important to the Christian walk, and to the church as a whole. We have covered a lot of ground, and may we often reflect on these glorious truths, and most of all may our faith receive and rest on Christ and his righteousness alone for justification.

—————–

[1] R.C. Sproul, Truths We Confess: A Layman’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, vol. 2, Salvation and the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, Nj.: P&R Publishing, 2006 ), 37.

[2] The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, 2 vols. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).

[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York: First Image Books, 1995), catechism No. 1989. See also Council of Trent, “Canons Concerning Justification,” Canons 1-33.

[4] David Dickson, Truth’s Victory Over Error: A Commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith (1684; reprint, Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2007), 69.

[5] Baptist Catechism 36: Q. What is justification? A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

[6] A.A. Hodge, The Westminster Confession: A Commentary (1869; reprinted, Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), 179.

[7] John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1955), 119.

[8] Ibid., 121. Underline mine.

[9] James White, The God Who Justifies: A Comprehensive Study, The doctrine of Justification (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001), pg. 95. I highly recommend this book.

[10] Ibid., 182-183.

[11] See Robert Letham, The Westminster Assembly: Reading Its Theology in Historical Context (Phillipsburg, Nj.: P&R Publishing, 2009), 265-266.

[12] R.C. Sproul, Truths We Confess: A Layman’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, vol. 2, Salvation and the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, Nj.: P&R Publishing, 2006 ), 50-51.

[13] The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, 2 vols. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] R.C. Sproul, Truths We Confess: A Layman’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, vol. 2, Salvation and the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, Nj.: P&R Publishing, 2006), 60.

[17] One such error is ‘eternal justification.’ This is the belief that the elect were justified immediately upon the decree of election. One problem with that is that it minimizes or excludes the requirement of faith.

[18] For New Testament believers that is. Old Testament believers looked forward to the cross. None look to the decree of election for salvation, rather to the work of Christ.

[19] Baptist Catechism 32: Q. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ? A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.

Baptist Catechism 33. Q. How doth the spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ? A. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ, in our effectual calling.

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