Justification

“A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.”

Gal. 2:16

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Subsections 

Active Obedience of Christ
Eternal Justification
Works Against the Roman Apologist Bellarmine  (who treated of Justification)

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Order of Contents

Articles
Books
Historical Theology

Justification Distinguished from Sanctification
Justification without Any Works
Paul & James
Justification & Baptism
Continuation of Justification
Justification & the Final Judgment
Contra Romanism
Contra Arminianism
Faith Does Not Include Repentance or Obedience
Repentance in Relation to Faith & Justification


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Articles

1500’s

Rollock, Robert – ‘Treatise on Justification’  trans. Aaron Clay Denlinger & Noah Phillips  MAJT 27 (2016), pp. 99-110  This work was published posthumously in Rollock’s time.

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1600’s

Trelcatius, Lucas – bk. 2, ch. 9, ‘Of Man’s Justification Before God’  in A Brief Institution of the Common Places of Sacred Divinity…  (1610)

Rijssenius, Leonardus – ‘On Justification’  trans. J. Wesley White  (1692)  12 pp.  from his A Complete Sum of Elenctic and Instructive Theology  in MJT 16 (2005), pp. 115-31

van Mastricht, Peter – ‘The Three Periods of Justification’  trans. Mark Jones  in Jones, Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest?  (2013)

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1700’s

Halyburton, Thomas

Works  (d. 1712)

‘A Modest Inquiry whether Regeneration or Justification has the Precedency in Order of Nature’, pp. 547-58

“…the vindication of the commonly received opinion, viz. That though they are agreed on all hands, to be at one and the same time; yet regeneration in order of nature precedes justification.” – p. 548

‘An Inquiry into the Nature of God’s Act of Justification’, pp. 559-68

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1800’s

Buchanan, James – ‘The Immediate & Only Ground of Justification: The Imputed Righteousness of Christ’  16 paragraphs, no source info, probably from his The Doctrine of Justification

Girardeau, John – ‘The Doctrine of Justification: its Ground, Nature and Condition’  (1890), p. 417 ff.  148 pp.  being Part II of his Calvinism & Evangelical Arminianism

Hodge, Charles

Commentary on Rom. 5:12-21, on Adam, Original Sin, Imputation, Christ, Justification, etc.

‘Delivered from the Law as a Rule of Justification – Now Joined to Christ’  from his Way of Life

‘Justification’  from his Systematic Theology, vol. 3,  Buy  21 pp.

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1900’s

Berkhof, Louis – ‘Justification’  (1950)  38 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

Gerstner, John – A Primer on Justification  (Presbyterian & Reformed, 1983)  26 pp.  no ToC

McMahon, C. Mattew – ‘A Review of The Doctrine of Justification, by James Buchanan, at A Puritan’s Mind.  See the classic book below.


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Books

1500’s

Hooker, Richard – On Salvation & the Church of Rome (A Learned Discourse of Justification, Works & how the Foundation of Faith is Overthrown)  (d. 1600; Preservation Press, 2007)  65 pp.  no ToC

Hooker was a chief Anglican apologist.

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1800’s

Alexander, Archibald – A Treatise on Justification by Faith  (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Tract & Sunday School Society, 1837)  50 pp.

A largely unknown and scarce work of Alexander’s on an important topic from an important figure: the first professor of Old Princeton Seminary.

Table of Contents

1. Importance of the Subject  3
2. Nature of Justification  6
3. Justification by the Law Impossible  9
4. The Above Declarations of Paul Relate to All Works of Every Kind  12
5. The Act of Faith is Not the Righteousness which is the Ground of our Justification in the Sight of God  14
6. Justification in the Sight of God is Not by Evangelical Obedience in Whole, or in Part  15
7. Justification does Not Consist Merely in the Pardon of our Sins, but also in the Acceptance of our Persons as Righteous  21
8. The Only Meritorious Ground of a Sinner’s Justification is the Righteousness of Christ  24
9. The Righteousness of Christ can no Otherwise Justify the Believer but by being Imputed to Him  31
10. Justification by the Imputed Righteousness of Christ is Obtained by the Exercise of a Genuine Faith  38
11. The Time of Justification  45
12. The Doctrine of James  46
Conclusion  48

Buchanan, James – The Doctrine of Justification  Buy  (1867)  510 pp.  ToC

Buchanan was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.

This is the standard classic on the doctrine of justification.  Read it first.  Being a “justified sinner” is a contradiction to a Romanist, it is the highest glory of the gospel to the believer.  For many more reasons why you should read this work, read this review at A Purtian’s Mind.

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1900’s

Sproul, R.C. – Faith Alone: the Evangelical Doctrine of Justification  (Baker, 1995)  215 pp.  ToC

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2000’s

Oden, Thomas – The Justification Reader  (Eerdmans, 2002)  175 pp.  ToC

Waldron, Samuel – Faith, Obedience & Justification: Current Evangelical Departures from Sola Fide  (Reformed Baptist Evangelical Press, 2006)  275 pp.  ToC


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Historical Theology

On the Whole of Church History

Article

Buchanan, James – pt. 1, ‘The History of the Doctrine of Justification’  in The Doctrine of Justification  Buy  (1867), pp. 17-220

Buchanan was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.

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Books

Ritschl, Albrecht – A Critical History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification & Reconciliation  (Edinburgh, 1872)  620 pp.  ToC

Ritschl (1822–1889) was a liberal, German theologian.

McGrath, Alister – Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, vol. 1 (to 1500), 2 (to Present)  Buy  (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1986)  ToC 1, 2

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On the Post-Reformation

Articles

Cunningham, William – ‘Justification’  in Historical Theology  (1863), vol. 2, pp. 1-120

Fesko, J.V. – ‘William Perkins on Union with Christ & Justification’  MAJT 21 (2010), pp. 21-34

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On Lutheranism

Articles

Preus, Robert – ‘Justification as Taught by Post-Reformation Lutheran Theologians’  (1982)  20 pp.

Phetsanghane, Souksamay – Thoughts on Objective Justification: Selections from Abraham Calov’s Biblia Illustrata  (2014)  43 pp.

‘Objective Justification’ refers to the erroneous notion of an objective, universal and conditional justification of all people through the work of Christ.

While this doctrine is largely absent from the historic creeds of Lutheranism and Lutheran orthodoxy (which emphasized an actual, personal justification by faith), yet Phetsanghane seeks to show that this doctrine was taught to some minor extent, and incidentally, in some of the orthodox Lutheran theologians (principally Abraham Calov, 1612-1686) and it may be contained in some implicit form in some early historic Lutheran confessions.

As most or all of Calov’s writings are in Latin, these translated selections are valuable.

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On the 1700’s

Book

Cho, Hyun-Jin – Jonathan Edwards on Justification: Reformed Development of the Doctrine in Eighteenth-Century New England  (Univ. Press of America, 2012)  150 pp.  ToC

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Special Topics

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How Justification is Distinguished from Sanctification

Article

Phillips, Rick – ‘Seven Assertions Regarding Justification & Sanctification’  (2015)  9 paragraphs

An excellent, clear and brief Biblical delineation of how Justification is distinguished from Sanctification, and how both flow out of Union to Christ.  Phillips is dead-on.


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Justification without Any of our Works Whatsoever

Intro

Owen demonstrates that when Paul excluded works from justification, he meant all works whatsoever without qualification, contrary to the Federal Vision, Norman Shepherdism, the New Perspective on Paul, Romanism and other groups who unduly qualify Paul’s statements.

Paul’s pronouncements, as is clearly seen by their unqualified, all-encompassing nature and various contexts, did not mean only to exclude the works of the Jewish law, works of the ceremonial law, perfect works only, works done with a conceit of merit, only works before we believed or only outward works done without faith, but all of our works altogether.

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Article

Owen, John – Ch. 14, ‘The Exclusion of All Sorts of Works from an Interest in Justification, what is intended by ‘the law’ and the ‘works’ of it in the Epistles of Paul’  †1683  13 pp.  in The Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Works, 5.278-90


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Paul & James on Justification

Intro

The traditional Protestant interpretation of Paul and James is that, as their contexts show, when Paul speaks of Justification without works, he is arguing for the *legal*, forensic grounds by which we are justified before God, whereas James, when speaking of Justification by works, is in context showing how a professor is *demonstrated* to be justified, contrary to false professors whose nominal faith is not saving.

See below for why the Protestant interpretation is right and is the natural and necessary reading of the passages.

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Articles

Owen, John – Ch. 20, ‘The Doctrine of the Apostle James concerning Faith and Works, its Agreement with that of St. Paul’  †1683  7 pp.  in The Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Works, 5.384-400

Dixon, Anthony – ‘III. Thing Proposed, viz., to Show in What Sense a Believer is Justified by Works’  (1790)   pp.  being point 3 of 3 of his sermon on James 2:21, ‘Eternal Justification Unmasked, being the substance of a sermon’  Printed in England.

This sermon is excellent.


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Justification & Baptism

Article

Edwards, John – ‘The Distinction used by some Late Divines of Justification at Baptism and Justification at the Day of Judgment, is Groundless’  (1708)  8 pp.  in The Doctrine of Faith and Justification set in a True Light, Part 3, ch. 4, pp. 433-41

Edwards was an important, early 1700’s, reformed, Anglican.


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The Continuation of Justification

Article

Owen, John – Part of Ch. 5, ‘The Continuation of Justification, whereon it does Depend’, pp. 143-52  (†1683)  9 pp.  in The Doctrine of Justification by Faith.  See especially p. 147 ff.

“Some say that on our part the continuation of this state of our Justification depends on the condition of good works…  with this only proviso, that they be done in faith…

[Rather…] the continuation of our Justification is the continuation of the imputation of righteousness and the pardon of sins.” – p. 147


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Justification & the Final Judgment

Articles

1600’s

Goodwin, Thomas – p. 182, point 4  of Book 2, ch. 2 of Gospel Holiness in the Heart & Life  in Works, vol. 7

Owen, John – ‘Sentential Justification at the Day of Judgment’  (†1683)  3 pp.  in The Doctrine of Justification by Faith, ch. 6, in Works, 5:160-162

‘Sentential’ means relating to a sentence.

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1800’s

Girardeau, John – ‘The Office of Works of Charity in the Last Judgment’, a sermon on Mt. 25:40  in Sermons  (1907), pp. 68-89

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Quote

1700’s

James Fisher et al.

The Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism Explained, by Way of Question & Answer, Pt. 1 (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1765), p. 160

“Q. 114.  Are not good works mentioned as the ground of the sentence, Mt. 25:35-36 — “I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat…”?

A.  These good works are mentioned, not as grounds of their sentence, but as evidences of their union with Christ, and of their right and title to heaven in him, John 15:5,8; even as the apostle says in another case, of the unbelieving Jews, 1 Cor. 10:5 — “With many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness:” their overthrow in the wilderness, was not the ground of God’s displeasure with them, but the evidence of it.”


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Contra Romanism on Justification

Article

1600’s

Owen, John – Ch. 5, ‘The Distinction of a First and Second Justification Examined’  (†1683)  22 pp.  in The Doctrine of Justification by Faith, pp. 189-211


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Contra Arminianism on Justification

Article

1800’s

Girardeau, John – Part 2, Section 1  (1890)  160 pp.  in Calvinism & Evangelical Arminianism: Compared as to Election, Reprobation, Justification & Related Doctrines, pp. 417-566


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Faith Does Not Include Repentance or Obedience

Articles

1600’s

Rutherford, Samuel

The Covenant of Life Opened, pp. 172-176

“The Socinian, Arminian and Papists’ faith includes new repentance and new obedience, contrary to the Scripture which differs between faith and new obedience.”

Christ Dying & Drawing Sinners to Himself, p. 77

“Not any protestant divine…  did ever teach that faith, new obedience, repentance are grounds upon which God justifies a sinner.”

ch. 36, ‘Repentance Mistaken by Antinomians’  in A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, Pt. 2

Owen, John

Justification by Faith, ch. 2, ‘The Nature of Justifying Faith’, pp. 103-4  in Works, vol. 5


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On Repentance in Relation to Faith & Justification

Articles

1600’s

Ball, John – 2nd Pt., Ch. 5, p. 349  of A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace  (London, 1645)

“And here the doubt touching the precedency of faith and repentance may be easily determined.  For if faith be taken largely or generally for a belief of the promise, if we repent and receive it, then faith is before repentance: for there can be no turning without hope of pardon, nor coming home by hearty sorrow, without some expectation of mercy [see WCF 15.2 & WSC 87].  Thus the exhortations run, ‘Turn unto the Lord, for He is merciful and gracious.’  ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.’

But if faith be taken more strictly, for that faith or belief whereby we receive, embrace, or rest upon the promise of God in Christ Jesus for pardon and forgiveness, then repentance goes before pardon: for no remission is promised to be enjoyed but upon condition of repentance…

If repentance be necessary to justification, of necessity it must go before justifying faith; because faith and justification are immediately coupled together.  It is impossible to come unto Christ without repentance…  Coming unto Christ is a lively motion of the soul, wherein arising from sin, it draws nigh or approaches unto Christ, that in Him it might be satisfied.  The motion is one, but the points are two.  For in drawing nigh unto Christ, the soul arises from sin: which may be called repentance.”

Witsius, Herman – Ch. 11, ‘Whether Repentance Precedes the Remission of Sins?’ [Yes]  in Conciliatory or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain: under the Unhappy names of Antinomians and Neonomians  (Glasgow, 1807), pp. 119-21

Witsius speaks of repentance as a ‘disposing condition’ of justification and the remission of sins.  That is, it is a non-meritorious, disposition that is an antecedent condition for Justification to take place (it being Scripturally required that for the remission of sins, one must repent).

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In reply to the question: ‘Is there any news today?’:  “Oh, yes, this is always news:  ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.'”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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