Justification by Faith

Justification by Faith

Justification by Faith For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are Gods handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Concerned with answering this vital question: How do we become right with God?

Early Church Fathers Faith was considered to be the sole means of salvation (becoming right with God). Some confusion as to what this faith meant/entailed, generally: A) Faith is a true knowledge of God [Intellectual assent] B) Faith is self-committal to God [Experiential commitment]

Patristic period Pelagius (360-418) Man has a free will to choose to do either good or evil, preaching of the gospel and example of Christ teach man the way to follow. Result: Christianity is a new and enlarged law to follow in order to earn salvation. Premise: No need for supernatural work of God, man is not so depraved that he cannot do good to somehow save himself.

Patristic period Augustine (354-430) Man is totally depraved and unable to do spiritual good by nature, need for supernatural grace to enlighten the mind and incline the will towards holiness. Result: Faith is primarily intellectual assent to truth (enlightening of the mind) and also require sanctification (actions of the will towards holiness) for salvation. Key development: Need for supernatural grace from God for man to be saved.

Patristic period Semi-Pelagian Grace of God illuminates the mind and supports the will man still has free will to choose to do good or evil. Grace of God can be ignored Patristic period: Decisions Synod of Carthage (397) Reject Pelagianism Council of Ephesus (431) Reject Pelagianism

Synod of Orange (529) Reject Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism Result: Augustine theology generally accepted. Concerns with Augustine 1) Participation in grace of God sometimes dependent on Church and Sacraments 2) Regenerate can be lost again 3) Faith justifies by inclining the will towards doing good works by love due to regeneration

4) Faith understood as assent to orthodoxy 5) Mercy/self-discipline seen as way of making satisfaction for sin 6) Salvation depends on baptism as entrance into church [unbaptised infants are lost] Scholastics Man cannot increase in faith without the grace of God (Augustine) The free will of man acts, but the grace of God assists in

justification (Semi-Pelagian) Justification is effected through the infusion of sanctifying grace into the soul by God (Aquinas). NOT imputation of Christ's righteousness to the sinner. Scholastic 'ordo salutis' Aquinas (1225-1274) 1) Infusion of grace 2) Turning of free will to God 3) Turning of free will against sin

4) Remission of guilt Scholastic 'ordo salutis' Bonaventura (1221-1274) 1) Turning of free will from sin 2) Infusion of grace 3) Remission of sin 4) Turning of free will to God Scholastic 'ordo salutis'

Scotus (1266-1308) Justification is the forgiveness of sin and the renovation of the soul by sanctifying grace. Grace of God is necessary to make man acceptable to God. Aquinas (1225-1274) Man can from free will response to God's grace, do something that gives him merit and a claim on God. Roman Catholic Summary

Justification is seen as a process, beginning with baptism and continuing throughout our lives by which God acts to forgive us and then with our cooperation, change us by his Spirit to become more righteous and acceptable to himself (Galea, Nothing in my hand I bring) Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man. (Council of Trent (1545-1563AD), Session 6, Chapter 7)

Reformation: Luther (1483-1546) Nature: Justification is an event not a process, whereby the righteousness of God is received by faith as a gift Ground: Perfection and obedience of Christ is reckoned to the sinner Means: Faith unites the soul to Christ so that what Christ has done belongs to me and what I have done belongs to Christ Effect: Simul iustus et peccator. The sinner is as the same time righteous and justified before God, but yet still a

sinner. Sinner seek to become more holy in his life. Reformation: Calvin (1509-1564) Nature: Justification means to be accepted by God as completely righteous. Ground: Perfection and obedience of Christ is reckoned to the sinner Means: Faith as knowledge revealed to our minds and confirmed to our hearts by the Holy Spirit

Effect: New life of repentance and good works. Post Reformation: Arminius (1560-1609) Justification is by faith alone Man has free will to choose to obey God or not Faith does not appropriate the righteousness of Christ Human act of faith is counted as righteousness, even though it is imperfect Act of faith justifies

Arminian 'ordo salutis' 1) Universal grace is given to all people 2) All sinners have in themselves the capacity to believe the gospel and obey 3) Call of the gospel is a moral influence on our will and understanding 4) Man assents to gospel and trusts God and obeys commandments 5) Man receives a measure of special grace

6) Man is justified by faith 7) Man perseveres until the end of his life 8) Man receives eternal life Roman Catholic 'ordo salutis' 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

6) 7) 8) Assent to truth as taught by RC church Insight into sinful condition Hope in the mercy of God Beginnings of love towards God Abhorrence of sin Resolution to obey God's commandments

Desire for Baptism Baptism and beginning of the process of justification Reformed 'ordo salutis' 1) Covenant of works - made in the Garden of Eden between God and Adam and promised life for obedience and death for disobedience.

2) Covenant of redemption - the agreement within the Godhead that the Father would appoint his son Jesus to give up his life for mankind and that Jesus would do so. 3) Covenant of grace - promised eternal blessing for belief in Christ and obedience to God's word.

Justification Only two positions: A) Justification as a result of a righteousness that is within us [Arminian/Catholic] Consider relationship with God to be one of works. All other religious systems operate on this principle. B) Justification as a result of a righteousness that is apart from us [Reformed]. Relationship with God is predicated upon grace and God's plan to glorify himself.

What is 'justification'? Justification is a legal term, used in theology to describe our standing before God (Sproul) To be justified is to be declared righteous and acceptable by God, to be considered perfect in God's sight. To be justified = to be treated by God a) As if I have never sinned b) As if I have lived a life of perfect obedience

HC Q/A 60: How are you righteous before God? Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Although my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned against all God's commandments, have never kept any of them, and am still inclined to all evil, yet God, without any merit of my own, out of mere grace, imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ. He grants these to me as if I had never had nor committed any sin, and as if I myself had accomplished all the obedience which Christ

has rendered for me, if only I accept this gift with a believing heart. HC Q/A 61: Why by faith only? Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith, for only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ is my righteousness before God. I can receive this righteousness and make it my own by faith only. [Against Arminian teaching]

HC Q/A 61: Why not by good works? Because the righteousness which can stand before God's judgment must be absolutely perfect and in complete agreement with the law of God, whereas even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin. [Against Roman Catholic teaching] What is true faith?

A) Faith is a true knowledge of God [Intellectual assent] B) Faith is self-committal to God [Experiential commitment] C) Need for supernatural grace from God for man to be saved. [Gift of God] Elements of A, B, C were present in theology of the Early Church Fathers and Patristic period. Succinctly formulated and joined together in the Reformation. HC Q/A 21: What is true faith?

True faith is a sure knowledge whereby I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in his Word. At the same time it is a firm confidence that not only to others, but also to me, God has granted forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation, out of mere grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits. This faith the Holy Spirit works in my heart by the gospel. [Intellectual, Experiential and gift from God] Resources:

Berkhof, L. (1969). The history of Christian doctrines. London: Banner of Truth Trust. Galea, R. (2007). Nothing in my hand I bring. Kingsford, Australia: Matthias Media. McGrath, A. (1998). Iustitia Dei. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. Sproul, R. (2010). Justified by Faith Alone. Wheaton: Crossway Books.

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