The Four Aspects of Justification
Throughout the years, I've discovered there are multiple aspects or perspectives of the justification of God's people. These different aspects can be best understood as from God's perspective and the believer's perspective. There is an aspect of the work of justification that has occurred in the past, and there is still an aspect that is yet to come. Some brethren when speaking of the doctrine of justification fail to differentiate between these perspectives. Below, I've outlined what I believe the different perspectives are.
- Justification from Eternity / Eternal Justification
God's will to justify His people is the justification of His people. God has always viewed His people as justified as God sees all things at once, the beginning of time until the end. He has absolutely predestinated all things and views all things as if they have already occurred, being transcendent of time and space. God never hated His people, but has always loved them. How in the world can God love something that is not perfectly righteous in His sight? The answer is He cannot, and thus must have always seen His people as perfectly righteous. I think of Eternal Justification as Justification in the mind of God before the foundation of the world.
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. - Jer. 13:3
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. - Mal 3:6
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth., - Rom 8:33
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. - Rev 13:8
- Justification in Time
This took place in Christ's earthly ministry, death, and resurrection. This work in time was the climax in the justification of God's people. Justification was constituted here, and it is these events in time performed by Christ which all true believers look to for their justification. All believers, when asked when they were justified will always point to the work of Christ on the cross. SCOCA - Salvation Conditioned Upon Christ Alone.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. - Isa 53:11
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. - Mat 1:21
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. - Rom 5:9
by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. - Rom 5:19b
- Justification at Conversion
This justification by faith is mainly the experience of being justified in the conscience of the believer. All of the elect are brought to faith in time and experience the peace and assurance of justification at their conversion. When I say this, I mean that when men are brought to faith in Christ, the object of their justification is Christ on the cross. They do not look to their faith as the basis of their justification but simply recognize it as the means by which God reveals their justification to them. When I speak of Justification by faith alone (Sola Fide), I only mean experiential justification and am in no way implying this is the actual justification of God's people forensically speaking. To do so would mean to say that justification is based on the faith of the individual, and that is in my mind no different than the doctrine of "infused righteousness" taught by the Roman Catholic Church - a heresy that cuts at the core of the Gospel.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. - Eph 2:8-9
For we are saved by hope: Rom 8:24a
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? - Heb 9:14
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. - Heb 10:22
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: - Rom 5:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. - Heb 11:1
- Justification at Judgement
This justification of God's people on Judgment day is the actual declaration before all men that His people are perfectly righteous in the sight of God. This will be a glorious day and all of God's people who have experienced their justification by faith look forward to this event with anticipation.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:, - Mat 25:34
Published: Sep, 4 2019 Updated: Jun, 21 2020