Justification & Faith!

The way, the truth and the life!

Over against all that would be justified by the works of the law, Scripture emphasises justification by faith only. But it is equally true that over-against all that would boast of an empty intellectual assent, without the works that characterise the true and living faith, the word of God maintains that faith is made perfect by works. Nor is the relation between faith and justification to be conceived and presented as that of a benefit on God’s part and a condition on our part. This, too, is often alleged. God saves and justifies us on condition that we believe. Superficially considered, it might seem as if there were truth in this assertion. Is it not true that we must believe to be saved? If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be justified; if not, we shall be damned. It appears, then, that justification is conditioned by faith. Yet this cannot be the relation. First of all, it should be remembered that objective justification is before faith. Objectively, we are justified regardless of our faith. In eternal election, all those given to Christ by the Father are righteous before God forever. And this righteousness cannot be contingent upon faith, even though it is true that we cannot appropriate this gift of righteousness except by a true and living faith. Besides, long before we believe, the justification of all the elect is accomplished forever in the cross and resurrection of Christ. Secondly, although it is true that justification in the subjective sense is contingent upon faith, we must never forget that faith is not of ourselves, it is a gift of God. It is therefore not a condition which we must fulfil in order to be justified: God himself fulfils all the conditions of salvation.

(© James R Hamilton, April 2014)
Sermon Audio

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