JUSTIFICATION, THE TOTAL WORK OF GOD
GRACE GOSPEL MINISTRY
The assurance of ones justified standing with God serves as the basis of ones confident walk in the essence of those who are members of the Body of Christ. The most blessed of Godís people are those who first understand the eternal benefits of salvation and as of a result, have internalized this truth and translated it into the practical aspect of daily walking in Him, as we move toward eternity. To many of Godís people, it is very difficult to transition the written or spoken word of God into the living manifestation of it in our daily lives. We must fully comprehend the fact that our true status in life begins with our eternal relationship with God. In essence our peace in this life is directly linked and dominated by our peace with God (Romans 5:1). Our peace with God is culminated from our eternal peace from God (Romans 1:7). Thus the enactment of justification engenders the peace of God (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15), who is the God of peace (Romans 15:33; Philippians 4:9; 16:20; I Thessalonians 5:23). Justification denotes peace and acceptance with God.
In Romans 15:13 it reads (KJV), "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost". Now from the Greek text, "And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace while believing, unto the end that you may abound in the hope in the power of the Holy Spirit". "Hope or earnest expectation" is not the illusive entity that some deem it to be. Hope is actually the derivative of justification. It depends upon justification; it is in proportion to justification. But many of Godís people have very little if any understanding of what justification is, accordingly, they find themselves in no position to either affirm or deny anything concerning it. Thus it is encumbered upon the ministry to carefully define and explain the doctrine of "justification", endeavoring to show both what it signifies, as well as what it does not connote.
The meaning of the term justify does not mean to make inherently righteous and holy but it signifies only to formally pronounce just or legally declare one to be righteous. Justification is our acceptance by which God receives His elect into His favor and esteems us as righteous persons. It consists of the eradication of our sins and the imputation of the righteous of Christ to our account. Thus we are not righteous in ourselves but we are considered righteous in Christ.
There was a relatively brief period in the 16th century during the so called "reformation era" when the blesseth truth of justification was one of the best known doctrines of the Protestrian Christian Faith, when it was regularly expounded through preaching and teaching by the clergy of that day. At that period in church history, the rank and file of those influenced by Martin Lutherís prioritizing of the epistles written by the Apostle Paul was constantly exposed to the principle aspects of salvation by grace alone.
Justification by faith, in light of the sovereign grace of God through election, was at the very nucleus of this doctrinal teaching. Its origin was derived through the prioritizing and distinguishing of the epistles of Paul, as having supreme value contents over the law and other Old Testament doctrinal instructions. Oddly, the proponents of these two doctrinal persuasions (election by sovereign grace and division of the bible according to dispensations) are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The underlying culprit of this rift between these groups can be traced to the doctrine of synergism, which teaches manís partnership or cooperation with God and ultimate influence upon the enactment of his will. Subsequent to the emergence of synergism and the corresponding diluting of the doctrine of election and ultimate diversion of the true principle of grace; generations have drifted from the actual factuality to this present point wherein the vast majority of
Reformation and Evangelical Christendom are mostly ignorant of this precious theme. In this present day and time, with rare exceptions, it is no longer given a prominent place in the pulpits of ministries. Indeed any writings on it are scarce in this era of menís synergistically contrivance of propagating their conception of "how to", i.e., "the proper method for receiving the things that one desires from God".
Consequently, comparatively few of Godís elect understand what justification actually connotes and still even less are clear as to the grounds on which God justifies the ungodly. Unfortunately as we view the spiritual welfare of Godís people, this places genuine grace ministers out of the accepted main stream of ministering. Those who hew strictly to the meat of the message, i.e., the spiritual invisible everlasting association of the elect linked to their eternal relationship with God in eternity; will automatically shun the more physically attractive yet superficial treatment of Godís directives to The Body of Christ. Thus such faithful ones will find themselves resoundingly in the minority.
In spite of this, God is to be praised as he continues to call and equip faithful ministers to dedicatedly declare and vindicate the truth unto the instruction and edification of those whom He has caused to love it in sincerity. The extent of the scope of genuine ministry is to extricate the minds of Godís people from the difficulties of secular peculiarities, which so many have endeavored to cast on all Gospel ministries. The true crux of feeding the flock of God must be to direct the consciences of those who sincerely inquire after abiding peace with God, and to establish the minds of those who believe the things that are actually directed to the Church in this dispensation.
This, in spite of its unpopularity, must be the aim of informed ministering in this age of Grace; that is, to present the doctrines of salvation i.e., Justification, etc., as the vital subjects that they are. This requires going into them deeply and entering into great details, even every revealed aspect of these truths. This we must do even through it may seem to cause a heavy taxation upon the spiritual mentality and patience of the average child of God. But the truly called one of God is mandated to teach and preach accordingly. Thus we respectfully urge all of Godís people (and those in Grace ministries in particular) to make a concerted effort to gird up the lions of our minds and seek to prayerfully master the foundational doctrines of salvation.
In examining the subject of justification, as we outlay the exegesis of what the word of God conveys, we will present the facts of the doctrinal side of the truth as we correlate it judicially. This is distinguished from the practical or experimental side. Yet when taken in light of the full knowledge of Godsí grace working for and in sinful mankind, it becomes apparent that the doctrine of Justification is not by any means to be viewed as impractical, no, indeed far from it.
The judicious act of God declaring His elect justified, in practice entails the external enactment of the account of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, to be conferred, deposited or credited to the worth or standing of the believer before Him. This does not take into account the personal worth or contributable input of the conferee, but it only weighs the enumeration of the assessment as a transaction of imputation. Thus justification before God cannot be viewed in both the legal and evangelical sense. The distinct nature of the two viewed in partnership (legal and evangelical) form a phantasm or mirage; as the former gives credit to and singularly glorifies God, while the latter is derogatory to the merit of Christ if it ascribes even partial credit to the recipient, rather than total credit to the blood of Christ.
Consequently true or scriptural justification gives no countenance to any amalgamation (blending or mixing) of the actual and practicing aspects of righteousness, holiness or sanctification. All justification that could be merited is over thrown by this distinction. This dissimilarity is marked by; on the one hand, the actuality or factuality of justification based on faith alone and on the other hand the visible manifestation of the functions of those who are justified. It must be clearly understood that the former is the essence of our acceptable standing before Him and is sufficient within itself. Thus while the latter is a noble testimony to the accomplishment of Godís work of imputing righteousness to His elect; it, in itself is not a continuation of the act of justification. It depends on faith alone, not on ones so-called "personal righteousness", which is not acquirable in ones daily walk. In other words, is justification a once completed judicious act in all itís cause and effect of it or does the commanding power of the Law constitute an obligation of obedience to effectuate a continuation or sustenance of it? Does the continuation of the actual pardon and justified estate depend upon the performance of its recipient?
The scriptural principles of justification teach that nothing is required here unto but the application of righteousness imputed. This alone is the pleadable basis of the continuation of our approved standing before God. Thus ones personal obedience does not constitute Godís pleasure in His acceptance of us, even though God is definitely pleased with the exemplification of righteous deeds on the part of the one to whom righteous has been reckoned. Consequently in essence, acceptability to God is that which is externally conferred, not that which externally manifested.
The perpetrators of arminianism as well as those who are synergistically inspired do in fact both foist and affirm various forms of so-called "evangelical personal righteousness." The very nature and usage of such terminology engenders in many respects (whether intended or not), a connotation of angelical justification on their evangelical righteousness. It is indeed puzzling how this is by some affirmed and even applauded. How is it possible, in light of Paulís writings (our gospel in the Dispensation of Grace), that evangelical personal righteousness could be asserted as a condition of our righteousness, or the pardon of sin? There is no personal righteousness required in the Gospel of Grace; otherwise grace would not be grace (unmerited favor). Contrariwise, the nature of the Law induces a requirement for inherent and habitual righteousness, sanctification and holiness. In this sense righteousness (the standard of God) is required from a source from whence there is no such substance. This is the reason why all must accept the verdict that all the progeny of Adam are depraved creatures, thus the requirement of denominated righteousness by the believer is a loss cause. Evangelical personal righteousness should never be asserted as the condition of our righteousness nor could there ever be any evangelical justification attached to our personal expressions of Godís righteousness.
Those who espouse the teachings of the contents of the Epistle of James (justification by faith and works) have a lack of comprehension that they are doctrinally and dispensationally out of synch with the epistles of Paul, which teaches justification by faith alone. There is a vast difference between the terms and non-conditions of the Grace Covenant (Grace Mystery Gospel) verses, the terms and conditions outlaid in the New Covenant (Kingdom Gospel), though justification in both gospels is antecedently originated in the merit of Jesus Christ alone. Even in James teachings there is no assertion there one may be justified by their inherent personal righteous. A clear understanding of the doctrine of the New Covenant plainly teaches that the accomplishment of justification is invested in the fact that the deeds of the Law originally written on tablets of stone in the Old Covenant; is now (and will be) written in their hearts through identification with the workings of Christ in the spirit of God, which shall dwell in them. Thus, it will not be them (nor could it ever be) but the spirit of God in them implementing the deeds of the law unto justification. For those who are under the Grace Covenant there are no stipulations of works whatsoever; there is only the transference of righteousness, sanctification and holiness by the imputation of the merit of Christ, which is unmerited by the elect of God.
Now one must be very careful not to construe this distinction between Faith Righteousness (which is by imputation), and so-called Evangelical Person Righteousness, (which is viewed as the character of the believer), to be antithetical to the appeal for moral conduct in the believer. Conversely, it is an unbiased knowledge of true justification through imputation of the righteousness of God by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ that should serve as the foundational basis for dedication and discipline living before Him.
Thus the term "evangelical personal righteousness" is flawed nomenclature, even when it is used to denote the practice of manifesting godly principles in response to our justified position, which has been acquired for us! If one use it as a basis of self-aggrandizing worth or value rating that is offered as contribution to the process of justification, he is grossly in error, for it is not the nature of any justification affirmed in the scriptures. All judgments or assessments of the believerís worth must be directly linked to the merit of the propitiation (acceptable Sacrifice), which is the only plausible substratum for justification or any declaration of righteousness.