Q32: What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life? Q33: What is justification?
A: They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification (Rom. 8:30), adoption (Eph. 1:5), and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them (1 Cor. 1:30). A: Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins (Eph. 1:7), and accepteth us as righteous in his sight (2 Cor. 5:21), only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (Rom. 5:19), and received by faith alone (Ga. 2:16).


FindingPeaceWithGod__07767.1469637563.1280.1280I. Justification, adoption, and sanctification are the leading benefits of those who are effectually called.

A. Other benefits in this life received are reconciliation with God (Rom. 5:1), access to God (Eph. 3:12), freedom from slavery to sin (Jn. 8:32), and the right to eternal life (Acts 20:32).

1. These benefits in the life to come will be fully enjoyed: glorification, the joining of the converted soul to the body.


9781845506155__70513.1470072093.1280.1280II. Justification is God’s gracious act, whereby He as Judge pardons sinners and declares them righteous based on the merit of Christ.

The answer to the great question: “How can a guilty sinner be righteous before God?”  This doctrine is the heart of the gospel: “[T]he article by which the church stands or falls” (Martin Luther).  Calvin wrote:

And we must so discuss them as to bear in mind that this [the doctrine of justification] is the main hinge on which religion turns, so that we devote the greater attention and care to it. For unless you first of all grasp what your relationship to God is, and the nature of his judgment concerning you, you have neither a foundation on which to establish your salvation nor one on which to build piety toward God. But the need to know this will better appear from the knowledge itself. (source)


A. That this act is a legal judgment and not the infusion of holiness making a sinner just is seen in three ways.

1. Meaning of the term contextually: in justifying a righteous man a judge declares him to be what the evidence proves the man is, and is not making the man righteous (Deut. 25:1).

Relevant quote from Arthur Pink:
…its usage in Scripture. “And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear (this Hebrew word always signifies “justify”) ourselves?” (Gen 44:16). Here we have an affair which was entirely a judicial one. Judah and his brethren were arraigned before the governor of Egypt, and they were concerned as to how they might procure a sentence in their favor. “If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked” (Deu 25:1). Here again we see plainly that the term is a forensic one, used in connection with the proceedings of law-courts, implying a process of investigation and judgment. Gpinka_doctrineselection_700px_interspire__31157__59787.1462218738.1280.1280od here laid down a rule to govern the judges in Israel: they must not “justify” or pass a sentence in favor of the wicked: cf. 1Kings 8:31-32.  “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.” (Job 9:20): the first member of this sentence is explained in the second—”justify” there cannot signify to make holy, but to pronounce a sentence in my own favor. “Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu . . . against Job . . . because he justified himself rather than God.” (Job 32:2), which obviously means, because he vindicated himself rather than God. “That Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.” (Psa 51:4), which signifies that God, acting in His judicial office, might be pronounced righteous in passing sentence. “But wisdom is justified of her children” (Matt 11:19), which means that they who are truly regenerated by God have accounted the wisdom of God (which the scribes and Pharisees reckoned foolishness) to be, as it really is, consummate wisdom: they cleared it of the calumny of folly.

2. Antithesis: the opposite of righteousness is condemnation (Deut. 25:1).

Relevant quote from Arthur Pink:
The precise force of the term “to justify” may be ascertained by noting that it is the antithesis of “to condemn.” Now to condemn is not a process by which a good man is made bad but is the sentence of a judge upon one because he is a transgressor of the law. “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” (Prov 17:15 and cf. Deut 25:1). “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Mat 12:37). “It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?” (Rom 8:33-34). Now it is undeniable that “condemnation” is the passing of a sentence against a person by which the punishment prescribed by the law is awarded to him and ordered to be inflicted upon him; therefore justification is the passing of a sentence in favor of a person, by which the reward prescribed by the law is ordered to be given to him.

3. Use of term contextually: courtroom scene (Rom. 3:19-20; 8:33).

Relevant quote from Arthur Pink:
From the fact that the judicial side of our salvation is propounded in Scripture under the figures of a forensic trial and sentence.

“(1) A judgment is supposed in it, concerning which the Psalmist prays that it may not proceed on the terms of the law: Ps 143:2.

(2) The Judge is God Himself: Isa 50:7-8.

(3) The tribunal whereon God sits in judgment is the Throne of Grace: Heb 4:16.

(4) A guilty person. This is the sinner, who is so guilty of sin as to be obnoxious to the judgment of God: Rom 3:18.

(5) Accusers are ready to propose and promote the charge against the guilty person; these are the law (John 5:45), conscience (Rom 2:15), and Satan: Zec 3:2, Rev 12:10.

(6) The charge is admitted and drawn up in a ‘handwriting’ in form of law, and is laid before the tribunal of the Judge, in bar to the deliverance of the offender: Col 2:14.

(7) A plea is prepared in the Gospel for the guilty person: this is grace, through the blood of Christ, the ransom paid, the eternal righteousness brought in by the Surety of the covenant: Rom 3:23, Rom 3:25, Dan 9:24.

(8) Hereunto alone the sinner betakes himself, renouncing all other apologies or defensatives whatever: Psa 130:2-3; Luk 18:13.

(9) To make this plea effectual we have an Advocate with the Father, and He pleads His own propitiation for us: 1Jn 2:1-2.

(10) The sentence hereon is absolution, on account of the sacrifice and righteousness of Christ; with acceptation into favour, as persons approved of God: Rom 8:33-34; 2Co 5:21″ (source).

B. This act is not carried on by degrees, but is an instantaneous one time act (Rom. 8:1)

1. No justification until one repents and believes (Ga. 2:16; Col. 1:21-22).


III. Justification has two parts: pardon of sin and the acceptance of the sinner as righteous.

God is Judge, Lawgiver, and therefore He alone can forgive the debt of sin (Ps. 9:4; Mk. 2:7; Ja. 4:12). God summons sinners to answer before His judgment seat through the gospel.

A. Pardon: its meaning, elements, and nature.

1. Pardon means the removal of the guilt of sin. Guilt is an obligation to punishment. The sinner is obligated to bear the eternal wrath of God to satisfy justice for breaking the law. Pardon nullifies the obligation (Job 33:22-24).

2. The elements of pardon are that it is full (Mic. 7:19; Col. 2:13), free (Rom. 3:24), and irrevocable (Rom. 11:29; cf. Jer. 31:34).

3. The nature of a pardon is variously expressed.

a. A “blotting” out of sin (Isa. 43:25; Acts 3:19), as a creditor discharges a debt; a blotting out of a “thick cloud” (Isa. 44:22) that obscures the face of God.

b. A “covering” of sin (Ps. 32:1), alluding to Israel having to “cover” their refuse (Deut. 23:13-14). Sin is the worst pollution, but pardon covers over its appearance.

c. Not “imputing” sin (Ps. 32:2). Imputation, according to the scriptural usage, denotes an attributing of something to a person, or a charging of one with anything, or a setting of something to one’s account. This takes place sometimes in a judicial manner, so that the thing imputed becomes a ground of reward or punishment.

Relevant quote from Caspar Hodge:
The word “imputation,” according to the Scriptural usage, denotes an attributing of something to a person, or a charging of one with anything, or a setting of something to one’s account. This takes place sometimes in a judicial manner, so that the thing imputed becomes a ground of reward or punishment. The word is used in the King James Version a number of times to translate the Hebrew verb hashav and the Greek verb logizomai. These words, both of which occur frequently in 9781845506155__70513.1470072093.1280.1280Scripture, and which in a number of instances mean simply “to think,” express the above idea. That this is the case is clear also from the other English words used in the King James Version to translate these Hebrew and Greek words, as, for example, “to count,” “to reckon,” “to esteem.” Thus hashav is translated in the King James Version by the verb “to impute” (Lev 7:18; Lev 17:4; 2Sam 19:19); by the verb “to reckon” (2Sa 4:2); by “to count” as something (Le 25:31 English versions). The verb in 1Sa 22:15 is sim. Similarly, logizomai is translated by the verb “to impute” (Rom 4:6; Rom 4:8; Rom 4:11; Rom 4:22; Rom 4:23; Rom 4:24; 2Cor 5:19; Jas 2:23); by the verb “to count” (Rom 2:26; Rom 4:3; Rom 4:5); “to account” (Ga 3:6); and by the verb “to reckon” (Rom 4:4; Rom 4:9; Rom 4:10). In the Revised Version (British and American) the word used to render logizomai is the verb “to reckon.”

These synonyms of the verb “to impute” bring out the idea of reckoning or charging to one’s account. It makes no difference, so far as the meaning of imputation is concerned, who it is that imputes, whether man (1Sam 22:15) or God (Ps 32:2); it makes no difference what is imputed, whether a good deed for reward (Ps 106:30 f) or a bad deed for punishment (Lev 17:4); and it makes no difference whether that which is imputed is something which is personally one’s own prior to the imputation, as in the case above cited, where his own good deed was imputed to Phinehas (Ps 106:30ff), or something which is not personally one’s own prior to the imputation, as where Paul asks that a debt not personally his own be charged to him (Phile 1:18). In all these cases the act of imputation is simply the charging of one with something. It denotes just what we mean by our ordinary use of the term. It does not change the inward state or character of the person to whom something is imputed. When, for example, we say that we impute bad motives to anyone, we do not mean that we make such a one bad; and just so in the Scripture the phrase “to impute iniquity” does not mean to make one personally bad, but simply to lay iniquity to his charge. Hence, when God is said “to impute sin” to anyone, the meaning is that God accounts such a one to be a sinner, and consequently guilty and liable to punishment. Similarly, the non-imputation of sin means simply not to lay it to one’s charge as a ground of punishment (Ps 32:2). In the same manner, when God is said “to impute righteousness” to a person, the meaning is that He judicially accounts such a one to be righteous and entitled to all the rewards of a righteous person (Rom 4:6; Rom 4:11).

B. Accepting the person as “righteous” (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6; 5:19) means that the sinner is viewed as having fulfilled the demands of the law, and as having been removed from its reach. Righteousness is imputed.

1. The sinner now has flowing to him the rivers of God’s compassion (Rom. 5:1); the accusations of Satan are silenced (Rom. 8:33-34); he no longer seeks acceptance with God by his works (Rom. 9:30-32).


IV. Justification, its meritorious ground: negatively and positively (Rom. 3:20-4:5).

A. Negatively: it is not by any worth or merit in the sinner himself.

bunyan_justification_700px_interspire__30917__69925.1454706622.1280.12801. Not by works, but is rather by faith leading to the righteousness of another (Rom 3:20, 28; Ga. 2:16); which excludes boasting (Rom. 3:27; Eph. 2:9).

2. Good works are imperfect (Isa. 64:6; Ja. 3:2).

3. The sinner who is justified is “ungodly” (Rom. 4:5; 5:6, 9).

B. Positively: it is Christ’s righteousness alone by faith alone.

1. Christ’s righteousness is His perfect obedience to the law (Matt. 3:15; Heb. 4:15), and His suffering the penalty for the law being broken (Ga. 3:13; Phil. 2:8). He fulfilled the law to the last and suffered wrath to the utmost.

2. Christ’s righteousness is what justifies us (Isa. 45:24-25; 53:6, 11; Jer. 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:18-19; 10:3; Phil. 3:9).

3. Christ’s righteousness is received through the instrumentality of faith (Rom. 1:17; 3:22; 10:10; Ga. 2:16; Phil. 3:9).

4. Christ’s righteousness vindicates God’s holiness (Rom. 3:26).

C. Faith and works: their relationship.

1. Justifying faith brings the sinner to perform good works out of gratitude towards God (Eph. 2:8-10). His faith works through love (Ga. 5:6), showing it to be genuine (Ja. 2:14-24).


V. Application.

A. Use, of knowledge.

1. Being pardoned is no slight thing (Num. 14:17-19); “God forgive me” should not be some common, cavalier phrase.

2. Blessed is the man who is justified (Ps. 32:1); miserable are the unjustified (Ps. 94:23).

B. Use, of testing.

1. Has the Judge brought you to a reckoning of your sin, causing you to renounce all other confidences (Phil. 3:7-8) and flee to Christ alone for righteousness?

2. Has the reigning power of sin been broken (Rom. 6:14)?

3. Has justifying faith been proven to be genuine (Eph. 2:8-10; Ja. 2:17)?

C. Use, of exhortation: sinners and saints.

1. Sinners. Consider:

a. The dreadful disadvantages of the unjustified state. You stand under condemnation and know not when the sentence will be executed (Jn. 3:18; Rom. 2:5; Ga. 3:10), you have no peace with God (Rom. 5:1), and no access to Him (Isa. 59:1-2).

b. The unspeakable advantages of a justified state: peace with God (Rom. 5:1), which also brings peace of conscience (Acts 24:16; Heb. 9:14), access to God (Eph. 3:12), deliverance from bondage to sin (Rom. 6:14), and all providences working for good (Rom. 8:28).

c. That the time of pardoning grace may not last (Isa. 55:6).

(1). Directions: labor to get your hearts concerned for a pardon. Flee to Christ, making full confession and receive Christ’s righteousness, laying your guilt upon Him, and believing in His ability and willingness to remove it.

2. Saints. Consider the duty that this privileged state calls you to: love the Lord much (Lk. 7:47); have a forgiving disposition (Eph. 4:32); walk humbly (Mic. 6:8); bear adversity patiently (Rom. 5:3); and walk tenderly (Jn. 8:11).

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