aymon de albatrus
"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." "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Rom 4:24-25; 5:1)
"21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus." (Rom 3:21-26)
Justification is a forensic term, opposed to condemnation.
Justification is a judicial sovereign act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, that all the claims of the Law are satisfied with respect to the elect sinner.
This calling is a forensic act of the grace of God in Christ by which He calls men lost in Adam, dead in sin and trespasses, through the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, to union with Christ and to salvation obtained in Him. By Christ we are enriched, inasmuch as we are made members of His body, and are engrafted into Him, being made one with Him, He makes us share with Him in every thing that He has received from His Father.
This sovereign judicial act of God towards His elect accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon of sin (Psa 103:12), justification declares that all the claims of the Law are satisfied in respect of the justified. The law is not relaxed or set-aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Rom 5:1-10).
Justification is a declaration that a graced man now possesses a forensic righteousness, which perfectly and forever satisfies the Law, namely, Christ's righteousness (2Co 5:21; Rom 4:6-8). The believer has been imputed or accredited an equivalent to perfect righteousness as a Surety of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
This righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and even this Faith is not of man but a gift of God: "Because by grace you have salvation through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is given by God:" (Eph 2:8) (Rom 1:17; 3:25,26; 4:20,22; Phi 3:8-11; Gal 2:16).
Those that God effectually calls he also freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by declaring their persons as judicially righteous. Not for anything found in them or done by them, but for Christ sake alone; imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them. They passively receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves, it is the marvellous gift of God.
In pardoning sin, God absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the Law, and that on account of the work of Christ, i.e., He removes the guilt of sin, or the sinner's actual liability to eternal wrath on account of it. All the sins of the elect (past, present and future) are forgiven freely (Act 5:31; 13:38; 1Jo 1:6-9). The forgiven sinner is by this act of grace forever freed from the guilt and penalty of his sins. This is the peculiar prerogative of God (Psa 130:4; Mar 2:5).
Simply put, to justify is to declare righteous; to make one right with God. Justification is God declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous, based on Christ’s righteousness being imputed to His people. (Rom 3:21-26)
We are justified, declared righteous, at the moment of our salvation. Justification does not make us righteous in our behaviour, but rather pronounces our righteousness. Our righteousness comes from placing our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice covers our sin, that way God sees us as perfect and unblemished. Because as believers we are in Christ, God sees Christ's own righteousness when He looks at us. This meets God's demands for perfection; thus, He declares us righteous--He justifies us.
Why is the pronouncement of the redeemed being righteous, so important? "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 5:1). It is because of justification that the peace of God can rule in our lives. It is because of the FACT of justification that believers can have assurance of salvation. It is the FACT of justification that God begins the process of sanctification – the process of God making us in reality, what we already are judicially.
Naturally not all are fully agreed and below there is a simplified table depicting variances on the concept of Justification:
Can be lost via mortal sin
Part of the same process
Can be lost via loss of faith
Separate from and prior to sanctification
Can be lost
Dependent upon continued sanctification
Can be lost via mortal sin
Part of the same process of theosis
Cannot be lost
Basis for sanctification
The Reformed understanding of justification is in substantial agreement with the Lutheran’s. However, the reformer have expanded by emphasizing that justification is a part of one's union with Christ and thus Justification (and thus Salvation) cannot be lost, whilst all the other believe that it can be.
The centre of the Reformed salvation theology was our Union with Christ. For one is united to Christ by faith (given by God) and all of the benefits of Christ come from being united to Him. Therefore, anyone who is justified will also receive all of the benefits of salvation, including sanctification. The Reformed doctrine spells out the exchange notion of imputed righteousness: that the good works that Jesus did in His life are imputed to His people, while their sins were imputed to Him on the cross.
Adam and Jesus functioned as federal heads, or legal representatives, meaning that each one represented his people through his actions. When Adam sinned all of Adam's people were accounted to have sinned at that moment (1Co 15:22). When Jesus achieved righteousness, all of His people were accounted to be righteous at that moment and saved (Mat 1:21). In this way the Reformed attempted to simultaneously solve the problems of original sin, justification, and atonement.
Justification is a permanent feature of being connected to Christ monergistically (conversion only by a sovereign act of the Holy Spirit). Monergism means that the Holy Spirit alone acts to bring about the conversion of His elect: i.e. monergism states that Salvation is ALL from GOD. Since His people are attached to Christ, it is therefore impossible for them to lose justification and salvation, if indeed they were once justified. The Synod of Dort expressed this idea as the "perseverance of the saints". This union with Christ is tied with the atonement and predestination
The term "Synergy" is the opposite of monergism. Typically it holds that God out of love has given man this freedom of choice and because of this man has the option and ability of responding to God's grace. But it faces an insurmountable wall in: "And you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;" (Eph 2:1), How can dead people in trespasses and sin respond spiritually to the external call of the Gospel if they are spiritually DEAD? Also the Bible says that man in his natural state does not seek God: "There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God." (Rom 3:11), and moreover to him the Gospel is madness: "But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1Co 2:14). Truly it is hard to figure out how can people pass over such clear and definite passages, even backed up by verses that cannot be misunderstood, even grammatically: "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." (Act 13:48) This Synergy view in none other that the Old Pelagian heresy with a modern cloak.
The principle of Justification as set out by the Reformers has attracted criticism and accusation of "Antinomianism" (without law) by other branches of Christianity, even at the time of Paul who was the major expositor of the doctrine. Paul of Tarsus, in his Letters, claims several times that believers are saved by the unearned grace of God, not by good works, "lest anyone should boast", and placed a priority on orthodoxy (right belief) before orthopraxy (right practice). The soteriology of Paul's statements in this matter has always been a matter of dispute (for example see 2 Peter 3:16); the ancient Gnostics interpreted Paul as wanting to embark on a path of enlightenment to ultimately get to salvation. But classical Christianity interprets the doctrine of Paul as referring to Salvation simply by believing in Christ: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.” (Act 16:31) and this belief is a Gift of God.
Antinomianism (from the Greek αντι, "against" + νομος, "law"), or lawlessness (in the Greek Bible: ανομια), in theology, is the idea believed by certain religious group that they are not under obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality as presented by religious authorities. Antinomianism is the antithesis of Legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation. The term has become a point of contention among opposed religious authorities. Few groups or sects explicitly call themselves "antinomian", but the charge is often levelled by some sects against competing sects.
Roman Catholicism (in particular) tends to charge Protestantism with antinomianism, based in part on the distinctively Protestant doctrine of sola fide, salvation by faith alone (Eph 2:8-9; Jam 2:24), and the typical Protestant rejection of the elaborate sacramental liturgy of the Roman church and its body of Canon law. Interesting to note that within Roman Catholicism itself, Blaise Pascal accused the Jesuits of antinomianism in his ‘Lettres Provinciales’, charging that Jesuit casuistry undermined moral principles.
Here is an example of the anathemas issued in the sixth session of the Ecumenical Council of Trent; some of their Canons still held currently:
Also, among the canons anathematizing the various erroneous doctrines advanced by the Reformers as to the meaning and nature of justification are to be found in the following:
Canon 19: "If anyone shall say that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel; that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor prohibited, but free; or that the Ten Commandments in no wise appertain to Christians; let him be anathema."
Canon 20: "If anyone shall say that a man who is justified and how perfect soever is not bound to the observance of the commandments of God and the Church, but only to believe; as if forsooth. the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life, without the condition of observation of the commandments; let him be anathema."
Canon 21: "If anyone shall say that Christ Jesus was given of God unto men as a Redeemer in whom they should trust, and not also as a legislator whom they should obey; let him be an anathema."
Canon 27: "If anyone shall say that there is no deadly sin but that of infidelity; or that grace once received is not lost by any other sin, however grievous and enormous, save only by that infidelity; let him be anathema."
It seems to me that here there is a wilful misunderstanding, for in NO WAY the Reformers deny the Law of God, for on what grounds could God condemn the unbelievers and Grace the believers, if the Law is no more. If there is no law, then there is No sin; for sin is known by the Law, therefore no condemnation. If the Law is no more, thus no more sin and thus what need is there of Grace, none.
The Law is absolutely necessary for the Justice of God and for His Grace. To fulfil His Justice; otherwise on what basis God would be able to condemn evil, Him being Righteous. And on what basis can He grant Grace since without Law there is no sin (Rom 5:13), in that case Grace would be meaningless. Praise God in the highest for His mercy, for we believers are not under the direct curse of the Law (still active) but we are shielded and fully Justified by Jesus Christ who is our Grace, our righteousness and our Peace with God: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". (Rom 5:1) A huge Amen to that, AMEN.
And without the Law how can we come to Christ for It is our schoolmaster to take us to salvation in Jesus Christ: "Why the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24)
Yes! we are to keep the Law, but NOT in the sense that by keeping It we are saved, for no one is good enough to keep It and if we fail in one commandment we have failed in all. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (Jam 2:10) We are to keep the Law (assisted by the Holy Ghost) in the sense of doing good works that our Lord has prepared for us before the beginning of time: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:10)
We conclude then that the Law has not passed away, for it is part and parcel of the eternal working of God and that Jesus came to fulfil the requirements of the Law for the benefit of His Own and by which we are: Called, Justified and Sanctified and Saved: "29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 Moreover whom he did predestined, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:29-31)
God’s elect are Justified or declared Justified judicially as decreed by God, they are to keep the Law (still operational Mat 5:18) but not in the sense of being saved by it, for the Law saves NO one (Rom 3:28), but in obedience to God having had, through regeneration, His commandments written on heir hearts and minds (Heb 10:16).