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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON FORTY-FIVE Justification by Faith

    1. The question which was asked by Job is a universal one. Job 9:2; Acts 16:30.TDOC 116.4

    2. In himself man is unrighteous, helpless, and hopeless. Romans 3:10-18; Titus 3:3-5; Romans 7:18; Ephesians 2:11, 12.TDOC 116.5

    3. We cannot make ourselves righteous, but we are accepted or accounted as righteous in God’s sight if we become united to Christ by faith. Galatians 2:16; Isaiah 45:25; Genesis 15:4-6; Romans 4:3, 9; Philippians 3:4-9; Romans 9:30-33; 4:20-25; 2 Corinthians 5:21.TDOC 116.6

    4. There are four aspects of justification:TDOC 116.7

    a. Justification by grace-the source. Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7.TDOC 116.8

    b. Justification by blood-the means. Romans 5:9; 3:25.TDOC 116.9

    c. Justification by faith-the method of receiving. Romans 5:1.TDOC 116.10

    d. Justification by, works-the evidence. James 2:20-24.TDOC 116.11

    (Either aspect involves the other three, and all four are present in every experience of justification.)TDOC 116.12

    5. We receive the gift of the righteousness of Christ by receiving him. Romans 5:17; Jeremiah 23:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 1:30.TDOC 117.1

    6. The acceptance of the gift of righteousness by faith includes the forgiveness of our sins. Romans 4:6-8; 3:25.TDOC 117.2

    The work of God

    “Justification by faith is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust and doing for him a work which he cannot do for himself.”TDOC 117.3

    What justification means

    “Justification is no Savior, nor is faith. Justification by faith what is it? It is the acceptance of the guilty by reason of a trusted Christ”TDOC 117.4

    Justification, in the evangelical sense, is but another name for judgment prejudged and condemnation ended.”TDOC 117.5

    Our only hope

    “So we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast. We have no ground for self-exaltation. Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by his Spirit working in and through us.”-Steps to Christ, 68.TDOC 117.6

    A free gift

    The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his, power will be broken. If he can control minds so that doubt and unbelief and darkness shall compose the experience of those who claim to be the children of God, he can overcome them with temptation. That simple faith which takes, God at his word should be encouraged.”-Gospel Workers, 161.TDOC 117.7

    All of faith

    Faith saves from first to last. The present righteousness and future glory of the sons of God alike have their source in faith. The act of reliance by which the initial justification of the sinner was attained, now becomes the habit of the soul, the channel by which its life is fed, rooting itself ever more deeply into Christ and absorbing more completely the virtue of his death and heavenly life.”TDOC 117.8

    All of grace

    “Grace, like Christ, insists on being all in all. If salvation is by grace, it is no longer of works; and ‘if of works, it is no more grace.’TDOC 117.9

    Romans 11:6. These two methods of justification imply different moral tempers, an opposite set and direction of the current of life.”TDOC 118.1

    Proof of God’s righteousness

    “In Romans 3:25, 26, while, expounding ‘the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,’ Paul asserted that the aim of the propitiation in his blood was to give proof of God’s righteousness, a proof rendered needful by his forbearing oversight of sins committed in days gone by, and that its ultimate aim was that God may be ‘himself righteous and a justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.’ This aim implies that apart from the propitiation in the blood of Christ and the proof thus afforded of the righteousness ‘of God, God could not have been at the same time himself righteous and also a justifier of those that believe.”TDOC 118.2

    A great problem

    “The word ‘justification’ does not of itself imply that the justified person is a sinner. To see this as plainly as possible, recollect that God himself is said to be justified, in Psalm 51:4, and Christ himself, in 1 Timothy 3:16. In a human court of law, it is a supreme duty of the judge to ‘justify the righteous’ (Deuteronomy 25:1), and the righteous only. In all such cases justification bears its perfectly proper meaning, unperplexed, crossed by no mystery or problem. But then, the moment we come to the concrete, practical question, How shall we be justified, and before God? or, to bring it closer home, How shall the sinner, be welcomed by my offended Lord as if I were satisfactory? then the thought of justification presents itself to us in a new and most solemn aspect. The word keeps its meaning unshaken. But how about its application? Here am I, guilty. To be justified is to be pronounced not guilty, to be vindicated and accepted by Lawgiver and law. Is it possible? Is it not impossible! Justification by faith, in the actual case of our salvation, is thus a ‘short phrase.’ It means, in full, the acceptance of guilty sinners, before God, by faith. Great is the problem so indicated. And great is the wonder and the glory of the solution given us by the grace of God.”TDOC 118.3

    “The problem raised, then, in religion, by the word ‘justification,’ is, How shall man be just before God? How shall we be accounted righteous before God? In other words, How shall we, having sinned, having broken the holy law, having violated the will of God, be treated, as to our acceptance before him, as to our ‘peace with him’ (Romans 5:1), as if we had not done so? Its question is not, directly, How shall I a sinner become holy, but, How shall I a sinner be received by my God, whom I have grieved, as if I had not grieved him?”TDOC 118.4

    Deliverance from the guilt of sin

    “The word ‘justification,’ alike in religious and in common parlance, is a word connected with law. It has to do with acquittal, vindication, acceptance before a judgment seat. To use a technical term, it is a forensic word, a word of the law courts in old Rome stood in the forum. In regard of ‘us men and our salvation’ it stands related not so much not so directly, to our need of spiritual revolution, amendment, purification, holiness, as to our need of getting, somehow in spite of our guilt, our liability, our debt, our deserved condemnation-a sentence of acquittal, a sentence of acceptance, at the judgment seat of a holy God. Not that it has nothing to do with our inward spiritual purification. It has intense and vital relations that way. But they are not direct relations. The direct concern of justification is with man’s need of a divine deliverance, not from the power of his sin, but from its guilt.”TDOC 118.5

    The atonement and righteousness by faith

    “Christ’s atonement is the way which grace has taken to bring in the righteousness of faith. In particular, we are made righteous (in this sense) through Christ, in a manner corresponding to that in which he was made sin for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Hence the blood, the sacrifice, the obedience of Christ, are referred to on all occasions, in connection with the righteousness of faith, as explicative causes to which this is to be traced. The relation is first of all a relation completely grounded and made good in Christ; and then we are participant in it with him, in virtue of our faith in him.TDOC 119.1

    “Clearly the apostle thinks of this righteousness of faith as something very wonderful. It is for him fundamental. It is the first article in which he celebrates the worth of the knowledge of Christ; no doubt, because he felt it transforming his whole moral and spiritual experience; and, in particular, because it contrasted so vividly with the nugatory righteousness of earlier days.TDOC 119.2

    “In earlier days Paul sought righteousness-an approved and accepted standing with God-by the works of the law. That project failed when the great discovery on the road to Damascus showed him to himself as all astray; in particular, when the law itself, coming home to him in the fullness of its meaning, both revealed to him the beggarliness of his own performance, and at the same time stung into appalling activity ungodly elements within him. Then he saw before him the law rising from its deep foundations in eternal strength and majesty, imperative, unalterable, inexorable; and over against it his own works lay withered and unclean.”TDOC 119.3

    But another vision came. He saw the Son of God in his life, death, and resurrection. Mere love and pity wore the inspiration of his coming: obedience and sacrifice were the form of it. So in that great vision one element or aspect that rose into view was righteousness-righteousness grounded as deep as the law itself, as magnificent ‘in its great proportion’, as little subject to change or decay, radiant with surpassing glory. As he saw, and bowed, and trusted, he became conscious of a new access and nearness to God himself; he passed into the fellowship of God’s dear Son; he found acceptance in the Beloved. Here was the answer to that woeful problem of the law: righteousness in Christ for a world of sinners, coming to them as a free gift to faith.”TDOC 119.4

    The truth of the Reformation

    “Justification by faith; the phrase is weighty alike With Scripture and with history. In Holy Scripture it in the main theme of two great dogmatic epistles, Romans and Galatians. In Christian history it was the potent watchword of the Reformation movement in, its aspect an it vast spiritual upheaval of the church. It is not by any means the only great truth considered in the two epistles; we should woefully misread them if we allowed their message about justification by faith to obscure their message about the Holy Ghost, and the strong relation between the two messages. It was not the only great truth which moved and animated the spiritual leaders of the Reformation. Nevertheless, such is the depth and dignity of this truth, and so central in some respects is its reference to other truths of our salvation, that we may fairly say that it was the message of St. Paul, and the truth that lay at the heart of the distinctive messages of the non-Pauline epistles too, and that it was the truth of the great Reformation of the Western church.”TDOC 120.1

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