What We Believe About Justification.

We believe the following about justification before God:

1. We believe justification is a judicial or a declarative act of God, the supreme judge.

2. We believe God justifies people who are ungodly.

3. We believe he justifies sinners based on strict justice. God, himself, can only remain righteous and at the same time declare sinners righteous because he has satisfied his own righteous demands in the redemptive work of Christ.

4. Since sinners need more than mere forgiveness of sins [The law demands a positive righteousness], the righteousness of Christ, demonstrated in his perfect obedience to his Father’s revealed will is imputed to believers. We are made “the righteousness of God in him.”

5. Since this is an alien righteousness that is put to our account, it will never be increased or diminished. It cannot progress. The most sanctified child of God will never become any more righteous in God’s sight than he was the second he first believed. Our progress or lack of progress in sanctification has no effect whatsoever on our righteous standing before God.

6. Even the most holy works of believers in Christ would fail to merit this positive judicial declaration.

7. This declaration is by grace alone, through faith alone i.e., through resting on God’s promises in Scripture alone, in Christ alone and all to the God’s everlasting glory.

8. Though justification is not progressive, it is perpetual. We believers have a standing in grace in the presence of God. We stand perpetually justified in his presence
(See Rom. 5:1-2) because the sacrifice of Christ offered once for all has perpetual efficacy. In his perpetual intercessory work, our great high priest continues to present his finished work before God’s throne. “He now appears in the presence of God for us.”

9. Although no true believer can ever lose this righteous standing before God, it is possible for some who have professed faith in Christ to fall away, cast away their confidence in Christ and be condemned. True faith is enduring faith. Any “faith” that looks for any other basis of justification other than the perfect redemptive work of Christ is not justifying faith. If a person begins to look to and depend on what God is doing in him instead of what Jesus has done for sinners in his redeeming work, it should be clear he is not trusting in Christ alone and his faith is not a justifying faith. This does not mean what God is doing in him is not important. It simply means that internal work cannot form any part of the basis of justification.

The Epistles of Hebrews and Galatians give us an insight into how such “believers” are to be addressed. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “I am afraid I may have labored in vain over you” (Gal. 4:11). This and other comments make it clear that though they had professed faith in Christ alone, they were in danger of being lost because they were beginning to trust in works other than those of Christ. For this reason it is necessary from time to time to exhort professed believers to rest in nothing other than the perfect righteousness of Christ. Our best works, on our best day will fail to present us faultless in God’s presence.

10. Though justification and sanctification will always be found in the same persons since both result from the believer’s union with Christ, we must never confuse these two works. One is a judicial declaration about us; the other is God’s ongoing work in us. One imputes a righteousness which is not ours; the other imparts a holiness that becomes ours. One stands perpetually perfect; the other may increase or diminish and will never be complete or perfect in this earthly life. One results from the imputation of a righteousness that is not ours in any sense; the other results from the infusion of God’s enabling grace, by the Spirit and based on the believer’s death with Christ.


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