Thursday, September 1, 2011

How can He declare righteous one who is devoid of righteousness?


"Bring in the Lord Jesus Christ and all difficulty disappears."

Ah, that is beautiful!

Here are some good words on justification from the last century by A.W. Pink (1886-1952). I would especially draw your attention to where he distinguishes between condemnation and justification in the setting of the courtroom of God. Note how the criminal enters the court and what is his state when he leaves the court after justification has occurred. This is what we need to grasp and and believe! Shall anyone or anything in heaven or on earth ever bring a charge against God's elect people (Romans 8:33-39)? No! and why? They have been justified...

"While deliverance from the love of sin has to do entirely with the experimental side of our salvation, remission of the penalty of sin concerns the legal aspect only, or in other words, the believer’s justification. Justification is a forensic term and has to do with the law-courts, for it is the decision or verdict of the judge. Justification is the opposite of condemnation. Condemnation means that a man has been charged with a crime, his guilt is established, and accordingly the law pronounces upon him sentence of punishment. On the contrary, justification means that the accused is found to be guiltless, the law has nothing against him, and therefore he is acquitted and exonerated, leaving the court without a stain upon his character. When we read in Scripture that believers are "justified from all things" (Acts 13:39), it signifies that their case has been tried in the high court of Heaven and that God, the Judge of all the earth, has acquitted them: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). 
 But to be without condemnation is only the negative side: justification means to declare or pronounce righteous, up to the Law’s requirements. Justification implies that the Law has been fulfilled, obeyed, magnified, for nothing short of this would meet the just demands of God. Hence, as His people, fallen in Adam, were unable to measure up to the Divine standard, God appointed that His own Son should become incarnate, be the Surety of His people, and answer the demands of the Law in their stead. Here, then, is the sufficient answer which may be made to the two objections which unbelief is ready to raise: how can God acquit the guilty? How can He declare righteous one who is devoid of righteousness? Bring in the Lord Jesus Christ and all difficulty disappears. The guilt of our sins was imputed or legally transferred to Him, so that He suffered the full penalty of what was due them; the merits of His obedience are imputed or legally transferred to us, so that we stand before God in all the acceptableness of our Sponsor (Rom. 5:18, 19; 2 Cor. 5:21, etc.). Not only has the Law nothing against us, but we are entitled to its reward."
-A.W. Pink, A Fourfold Salvation, (from II. Salvation from the Penalty of Sin).

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