“The doctrine by which the church stands or falls.”

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. ReformedBaptist

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    Dear brethren,

    There are many threads started with an air of controversy. While controversy is inevitable this thread is intended not to begin with controversy but with the positive affirmation of a vital doctrine: The Doctrine of Justification.

    The quote in the title is from Martin Luther. He thought of the doctrine of Justification by faith alone as the defining fulcrum on which a church swings either to biblical Christianity or to apostasy and severe error. It is said that John Calvin viewed the doctrine as the "hinge" of the reformation.

    Whether true Christians on this board stand in the heritage of the reformation or no, this doctrine should define our place in the world apart from the papacy and eastern orthodox churches. It should also separate true Christians from every false gospel, or perverted gospel, in the earth.

    Given that the doctrine is so important, let's begin by defining it. What is the doctrine of justification? What is the doctrine of justification by faith alone? How does this differ from the Romish doctrine?

    Of course, it is assumed that any doctrine finds as its spring and source in Holy Scripture, and Scripture ALONE. Men may well be quoted, creeds cited, et. to bring explaination and clarification to our understanding of this doctrine. Yet the ground and root of our doctrine is Scripture.

    So let's begin by defining the doctrine. Please try to refrain from merely cut-and-pasting Scripture with no personal comment.

    RB.
     
    #1 ReformedBaptist, Sep 24, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2007
  2. ReformedBaptist

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    What is the doctrine of justification?

    The doctrine of justification is God's acceptance and recieving of sinners by accounting and accepting them as righteous. This is done, not by infusing righteousness in them, not by anything done by them, but for Christ's sake alone. Nor is it an imputation of faith itself, the act of believing, or any other act of obedience that is their righteousness, but it is the active obeidence of Christ, it is HIS righteousness that is imputed to them and on account of Christ's righteousness (an alien righteousness) that they are declared just.

    "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath 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; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Rom 3:24-26

    "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom 8:28-30

    "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" 1 Cor 1:30

    "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:" Phil 3:8-9

    I emphasized the Phil 3:9 section to illustrate that the Scriptures teach it is not faith itself that is the rigtheousness, but righteousness is by faith. It is NOT our own righteousness by that which is through faith, the righteousness of Christ.

    Is this doctrine a reason to continue in sin?

    Absolutley NOT! Our confession of faith superbly says, "Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love." 1689 LBCF, Chapter 11,2

    "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." Galatians 5:6

    "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." James 2:17

    Were OT saints justified differently from us?

    By no means! "So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." Gal 3:9 We are blessed WITH faithful Abraham, not apart from him. Our justification by faith is the same as was his.

    Romans 4:14
    For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

    v.20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

    v.21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

    v.22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

    v.23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

    v.24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

    v.25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
     
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    So many views of the page and not one comment!
     
  4. TCGreek

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    1. O, the sweet doctrine of justification. What more can I say?

    2. Romans 3:20-5:21 did it for me.

    3. Paul's argument for Abraham as the prototype of all those whou would be justified before God in Chapter 4, clinched it for me.
     
  5. skypair

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    RB,

    Let me first say that the doctrine or meaning of "justification" IS critical to our understanding of salvation. AND it is an understaining that ALL Christians should hold in common.

    Yes, that is it succinctly. No need to add to it because OT justification was imputed differently than NT justification.

    See, this makes no sense at all. We are justified for doing NOTHING with our belief in Christ's crucifixion on our behalf?? Is that what you see in Abraham?? He heard God but did nothing?? C'mon RB -- that's just verbose nonsense!

    There is but one citation that mentions the word "justification" here, RB. When you start mixing scriptures that name it with those that don't, you are "treading on thin ice," my friend!

    But I would have you take note of the words I underlined. They say that righteousness is not imputed until we believe. It does not say "until we have faith" (which is given us of God) but BELIEF which comes of our own consideration of and response to the word that is preached.

    I've got to say after all these months of give and take that it seems you restrict your "gardening" of ideas to books on Calvinism rather than the Bible.

    skypair
     
    #5 skypair, Sep 24, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2007
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    Skypair,

    Been busy at work. I will get to your post later.
     
  7. russell55

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    Abraham was counted righteous (or justified) apart from works. See Romans 4.

    If Abraham had been justified by what he did, he'd have something to boast about.

    Abraham received justification through faith.

    If Abraham had been justified because of something he did (or because he worked for it), his justification would be his due, and not a gift.

    Like all the rest of us, Abraham was justified by faith in the God who justifies the ungodly-- the God who justifies those who don't have a righteous record of their own. Abraham was justified apart from his works. What Abraham did played no part in his justification
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    RB,

    True. The only groups I know that do not hold to the doctrine of justification by faith alone are apostate.

    In my reading of Scripture, this is refuted clearly from Galatians. Abraham believed the Gospel.

    We are justified through faith. We are not justified because we have produced faith from ourselves. Justification is because of Christ and Christ alone. It is upon His righteousness we are declared just before an all Holy God. And He does this through faith in Jesus. And that is no verbose nonsense, but the very Gospel.

    Because a passage doesn't use the word justification doesn't mean its not being taught. 1 cor teaches Christ is our righteousness. That is another way of saying we are justified.

    Where have I ever taught a man is saved, justified, et. apart from faith?

    What book on Calvinism, pray tell, is represented in my post? Nearly all is Scripture save the confession of my faith, which is an exposition of Scripture.
     
  9. skypair

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    But he BELIEVED and that was NOT counted as works -- so, yeah, Abraham was indeed accounted righteous apart from works of the flesh but not apart from works of the spirit! Got that?

    skypair
     
  10. skypair

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    Yes, I hope you read my response to Russell. We are justified on account of -- on condition of -- our "SPIRITUAL" work of BELIEF.

    I was alluding to the ones you cited.

    skypair
     
  11. ReformedBaptist

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    So you believe man cooperates with God in the work of regeneration and that it is not the work of God alone. The problem, beside being wrong, is that your making faith a work, regardless of calling it spiritual or no. Which acutally confuses and confounds the issue all the more!

    Is the spiritual work as you call it, of man..that is, that is from man without any grace or influence of God, or is it of God? I believe based on your words that you say it is of man.

    If of man, then man contributes to the salvation of God when the Scripture opposes this idea in the very nature and definition of grace.

    Furthermore, you statement here is a statement on justification, which you base squarley on and in man, and not on and in Christ Jesus. This, I will boldly proclaim, is heretical. And it may be damnable. I may be to strong in this, so let others rebuke me if needed. But to teach a gospel where one is point to him or herself and their own faith and to place it as the ground and root of their justification is gross and damnable heresy. It takes one's eyes away from Christ, away from Him who was lifted up, and to themselves. There is no salvation there. Salvation is in Christ and in Christ alone.

    I pray to God I have misunderstood this statement of yours.
     
  12. David Michael Harris

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    You should join the Puritan board.

    Yes, justification is by faith. Absolutley.

    Faith comes by Grace. Just Grace. No works what so ever. God gives to every person a measure of faith, some more than others. It is a saving faith non the least.

    It is all just Grace. It is the Grace of God we should be concentrating on.

    Faith comes by hearing about that Grace of God.

    So lets preach the Gospel, we do not know who the Elect of God are. They are waiting to hear the Gospel as I did.

    God is working let's not forget this. Reconciling the world to Himself.
     
  13. russell55

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    Paul, over and over again, puts faith over against works. If something is by faith, then it cannot be on account of works. It is wrong to think of faith (or belief) as a work, even a "spiritual" work. True faith is receptive: It receives the righteousness of Christ, or "the righteousness from God."

    In addition, scripture never tells us we are justified "on account of" our faith. It says we are justified "by faith" or "through faith" but never "on account of" faith. And when you say we are justified "on account of" our faith, you overlook the scripture that says that lawkeeping is indeed required for justification:

    The grounds for anyone's justification has to be "doing the law." Yet, in another place in Romans, we are told that
    And in Romans 4 it tells us we are justified as "ungodly" people "apart from works."

    It's a conundrum, a riddle: The doers of the law will be justified, yet no one will be justified by the deeds of the law. And we are justified as ungodly people apart from our works.

    The solution to the riddle is that it is not "on account of" our own works we are justified, but on account of the righteousness of Christ. Christ kept the law perfectly, and those united with Christ by faith have his perfect record of lawkeeping counted as their own in their justification in the same way that our sins were accounted to Christ on the cross in our forgiveness.

    The imputation goes both ways: Christ becomes sin for us, and we become the righteousness of God in Christ.

    In 1 Corinthians 1: 30-31, we learn this:
    It is “by [God’s] doing we are in Christ Jesus, who became to us…righteousness;” and based on this truth, no one has grounds for boasting except in the Lord.

    Since Paul says that this righteousness precludes our boasting about our own works and gives us reason to glory in Christ’s work instead, I’d understand this to mean that the righteousness Christ became for us must be a righteousness that is not inherent to us; but rather, an alien righteousness. If Christ becoming my righteousness rules out any boasting on my part, then it must be that God regards me as righteous in Christ apart from my own works of obedience, and based on Christ's works of obedience alone.
     
    #13 russell55, Sep 25, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2007
  14. TCGreek

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    1. Good use of Scripture. I always love it, when interpreters get the doctrine of justification right.

    2. What better place to go than Romans 4!
     
  15. Allan

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    RB,
    Part of the problem you will have and are having with some non-cals regarding the above, is the wording. Though it is not wrong it gives the wrong impression due to the way it is worded. I to was about to give a rebuttal to a small portion but in taking a second look at how it was structured I saw the meaning beyond it's wording. What I embolded above is where you will have the difficulty.

    If it is not CAREFULLY read there will be a knee jerk reaction from some who will say "our justification is by faith!" when in fact you are already stating this. What you are NOT stating is that 'faith' is a righteousness of itself, therefore we are basically trading God something of ours that is of value for something of Gods that is of value. (a work). Which we know from scripture faith is not a work at all.
    Faith is not that bywhich we can demand of God something that would be due us for our using, but is a trusting for that which we do NOT have nor deserve to be given simply by His grace.
    And is further expounded in like manner in the rest of you posting below:
    The doctrine of Justification is simply that our righteousness is due to Christ alone, secured in Christ alone, achieved by Christ alone, that our faith by grace is in God alone.
    A-men!
     
    #15 Allan, Sep 25, 2007
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  16. Allan

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    I am curious here.

    Are you saying that if one does not hold faith comes from God, then one must be a heritic?

    Or

    That one who thinks their faith is the object of their justification rather than Christ they are worthy of being called a heritic?
     
  17. Bismarck

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    R55,

    There is no contradiction:

    Romans 2:13
    for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers (poietes, G04163) of the Law will be justified.

    Romans 3:20
    because by the works (ergon, G02041) of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

    poietes means "performer", to wit, "one who obeys or fulfills the Law". Such was the Messiah Yeshua.

    ergon means "works, business". I understand this to be a reference to legalism and formalistic observance of the Letter of the Law, over against the Spirit of the Law.

    With respect, your confusion is an artifact of English translation. If we could all read Greek fluently, no such confusion would arise.
     
  18. D28guy

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    Skypair,

    This was posted...

    And you said...

    It makes complete sense. It is the most sensible thing in the world.

    Exactly! We are justified in Gods sight because of Christs work on our behalf. His rightiousness is imputed to us. We access this through faith, and faith ALONE.

    You are jumping the gun here. We are not talking about the result (or manifestation) of our justification, we are talking about how we are justified.

    Its faith and faith alone.

    Thats the gospel. To add ANYTHING else to it turns it into a FALSE gospel.

    God bless,

    Mike
     
  19. Bismarck

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    A,

    Romans 4:20
    And at the promise of God, he did not separate away (diakrino, G01252) in the unbelief, but was strengthened (endynamothe, G01743) in the belief, giving glory to God.

    endynamothe (G01743) seems to be conjugated in the passive tense (?).

    Thus being the case, Abraham was strengthened by God and thereby graciously empowered / enabled with belief.

    Abraham's belief was not his own work, nor effort, nor even exertion of any kind in any degree.

    It was "all God", by God's grace.

    God said "let Abraham believe", and Abraham believed.

    (It would seem)
     
  20. Bismarck

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    Romans 4:22-24
    Therefore, 'IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS' [Gen 15:6]. Now, not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

    The English word "credited" (or "imputed") comes from the Greek word logisthe (G03049). It is the "middle voice" of logos (G03056), which means "word" — as in the "Word of God", and represents that organizing principle, of God, that crafts the Kosmos.

    Thus, the Greek seems to be saying (crudely) that "it was logos'd to him as righteousness".

    This seems, again, to indicate that it was God's will / word doing the acting, and that Abraham was a passive recipient.

    However, this exceeds my command of Greek. This also does not seem to agree with the Genesis 15 account, unless the statements "And the Word of YHWH came to him" indicate YHWH-God's infusion of strengthening empowerment into Abraham, that then allowed / enabled Abraham to "believe" in Gen 15:6.
     

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