Posts Tagged ‘John Piper’s view of Justification

28
Jul
12

Justified By an Alien Righteousness

It seems to become more and more obvious with each passing day that the authentic gospel of Jesus Christ is under attack as never before. Of course, as has always been the case, the most severe and biting attacks come not from pagans outside, but from professed Christians. Under the guise of combating “the Heresy of New Calvinism,” some are denying truths that have been held by true believers for centuries. The chief Guru over at “Paul’s Passing Thoughts” (a blog I would never recommend) seems hung up on an idea that was emphasized years ago by a group called “the Australian Forum.” That concept is that the emphasis of the gospel is not on what God is doing in our hearts, but on what he has accomplished objectively in Christ. Additionally, they emphasized the idea that the basis or ground of the believer’s justification before God is not grace (or enablement) that he imparts or infuses to the believer as a result of Christ’s redeeming work, but an alien righteousness that he imputes to (legally puts to the account of) believers. The believer’s justification was objectively accomplished by the redemptive work of Christ.

I was probably in my early twenties before I heard a clear sermon on the doctrine of justification through faith alone, based on the redemptive work of Christ alone. The “gospel” I had heard was “Jesus died for you; if you will just let him come into your heart, he will forgive.” I challenge anyone to find a biblical writer or preacher either telling an unconverted audience “Jesus died for you,” or “If you let Jesus come into your heart, he will save you.” I can save you a bit of time. Don’t bother looking for it, because it isn’t there.

This does not mean God does nothing in the believer; of course, he does. It does mean what he does in the believer in the work of sanctification (an ongoing and internal work of God in which he makes us holy) forms no part of the basis of the believer’s justification(an instantaneous legal declaration in which God declares believers righteous in his sight). The ground of a believer’s justification has nothing at all to do with what God does in the believer.

Another way of stating this truth is to say justification is not through sanctification, instead, sanctification is through justification. This does not mean believers are not required to be obedient because Christ’s obedience and righteousness have been imputed to them. What it means is that believers now have free access to enter God’s presence boldly. People with a guilty conscience don’t worship or obey God. We need to be forgiven before we can be obedient. God’s method of putting sinners right with himself sets believers free from all guilt. No longer must we struggle to be acceptable to God. Everything we do post-conversion that pleases God, we do because we have already been accepted in the Beloved.

How important is this distinction? A person’s eternal destiny depends on it. If you believe even the slightest part of the basis of your right legal standing before God is an internal righteousness you possess personally, that is, by your own obedience, even if you believe that righteousness and obedience has been brought about by grace God has infused to you as a result of Jesus’ death, you are lost and doomed to eternal destruction.

If you have questions about what I have written here, Let’s discuss it. Don’t just make assumptions and then accuse me of heresy