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Thread: Eternal Justification

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    Eternal Justification

    What does everyone think of the doctrine of Eternal Justification? Do you believe the elect are not only elect in eternity but also justified in eternity?
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    Interesting articles:

    Justified by Christ Alone - Samuel Richardson
    http://victorian.fortunecity.com/dad...ification.html

    A DEFENCE OF THE DOCTRINE OF Eternal Justification - John Brine
    http://members.aol.com/gregscv/brine.htm

    Eternal Justification
    http://www.freegrace.net/articles/df...es/dfah704.htm

    John Reisinger on Eternal Justification
    http://www.soundofgrace.com/v6n4/chsetrnlju.htm
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    I certainly don't see it as a doctrine which should cause division among Christians. My own pastor is one of the few in the PRC who denies eternal justification. I, myself hold very strongly to eternal justification or better justifcation from eternity.

    Numbers 23:21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.

    In Numbers 23:21 we read of God already declaring Jacob (the nation) as justified before him prior to the coming of Christ.

    The Belgic Confession uses a statement lifted directly from the Scriptures to also teach eternal justification.

    Article 20: That God hath manifested his justice and mercy in Christ Jesus.
    We believe that God, who is perfectly merciful and just, sent his Son to assume that nature, in which the disobedience was committed, to make satisfaction in the same, and to bear the punishment of sin by his most bitter passion and death. God therefore manifested his justice against his Son, when he laid our iniquities upon him; and poured forth his mercy and goodness on us, who were guilty and worthy of damnation, out of mere and perfect love, giving his Son unto death for us, and raising him for our justification, that through him we might obtain immortality and life eternal.
    Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

    The phrase "for our justification" actually has the idea more of "because of our justification". Christ was raised because our justification had been accomplished. If our justification had not been accomplished Christ could not have been raised. Some try to argue around this. But the same word dia is used to say that Christ "was delivered for our offences". There is not reason dia should change meanings in the same verse. It means "because of", "on account of", or "on behalf of". Jesus was resurrected because the debt had been paid and we were declared justified.

    In another sense we were justified from all eternity. God is immutable and as the passage from Numbers and other passages show, God considered people justified prior to this.

    This is not a denial of some form of temporal justification however. Through faith we experience our justification.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Justification is through Christ alone

    Our justification is found only as Christ has wrought it through His death and resurrection. When He said "It is finished" He meant all that was necessary for our salvation and redemption. The basis of our justification is His finished work on the cross, having fulfilled the law and bringing righteousness to mankind through Him.

    God shares His glory with no one. We (mankind) have lost any chance for justification through the disobedience of the one man Adam. It is lost and never to be regained by the hand of man. The doctrine of depravity underlines our utter inability to do anything on our own behalf. This makes God's mercy even more glorious because of His supreme sacrifice!

    Let justification be seen as the action that God has made rather than any action on our own part.

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    Re: Justification is through Christ alone

    Originally posted by Child of Grace
    Our justification is found only as Christ has wrought it through His death and resurrection.
    I agree that our justification is only in Christ's work alone. But as I was talking to BillTwisse last night on the phone about this, this would be considered the constitutive act of justification. The declarative act of justification occurs when the gift of faith and repentance is granted to the regenerate individual that causes him to turn from his sins to Christ.

    When He said "It is finished" He meant all that was necessary for our salvation and redemption. The basis of our justification is His finished work on the cross, having fulfilled the law and bringing righteousness to mankind through Him.
    Again I agree with you, I wasn't questioning that.

    God shares His glory with no one. We (mankind) have lost any chance for justification through the disobedience of the one man Adam.
    We never lost a chance because we never had a chance.

    It is lost and never to be regained by the hand of man. The doctrine of depravity underlines our utter inability to do anything on our own behalf. This makes God's mercy even more glorious because of His supreme sacrifice!
    Agreed.

    Let justification be seen as the action that God has made rather than any action on our own part.
    Again I also agree with this. I was just wondering about the doctrine of "eternal justification" that taught that the elect were justified by Christ before the world was even created. The doctrine teaches that because God elected a people to salvation before the world was created, ordained their fall, and ordained the means to their justification all before the world was created, then their justification was as good as done. There was no doubt that God would not accomplish what He planned to do, so while the declarative and constitutive aspects of justification were not accomplished, their justification was guaranteed in Christ.

    For an example as how I would understand eternal justification is let's say for instance I went to Amazon.com planning to buy a King James Bible to be delivered to my house. I HAD to have that King James Bible, and Amazon.com WAS going to ship it to me upon ordering it. There was no doubt that I wouldn't get that bible because Amazon.com is such a good company, and we can trust the US Postal Service to deliver it safely and timely to me. When I go online and click "Buy it Now", I have technically purchased the bible. That book is now purchased. However, the funds in my bank account have not yet been transferred to amazon.com. Also the book has not been delivered to me. But technically that book is a purchased book and I see that book as belonging to me.

    Just a thought.

    Brandan
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    From Spurgeon's Sermons "Adoption", Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Vol. 7

    But there are one or two acts of God which, while they certainly are decreed as much as other things, yet they bear such a special relation to God’s predestination that it is rather difficult to say whether they were done in eternity or whether they were done in time. Election is one of those things which were done absolutely in eternity; all who were elect, were elect as much in eternity as they are in time. But you may say, Does the like affirmation apply to adoption or justification? My late eminent and now glorified predecessor, Dr. Gill, diligently studying these doctrines, said that adoption was the act of God in eternity, and that as all believers were elect in eternity, so beyond a doubt they were adopted in eternity. He further than that to include the doctrine of justification and he said that inasmuch as Jesus Christ was before all worlds justified by his Father, and accepted by him as our representative, therefore all the elect must have been justified in Christ from before all worlds. Now, I believe there is a great deal of truth in what he said, though there was a considerable outcry raised against him at the time he first uttered it. However, that being a high and mysterious point, we would have you accept the doctrine that all those who are saved at last were elect in eternity when the means as well the end were determined. With regard to adoption, I believe we were predestined hereunto in eternity, but I do think there are some points with regard to adoption which will not allow me to consider the act of adoption to have been completed in eternity. For instance, the positive translation of my soul from a state of nature into a state of grace is a part of adoption or at least it is an effect at it, and so close an effect that it really seems to be a part of adoption itself: I believe that this was designed, and in fact that it was virtually carried out in God’s everlasting covenant; but I think that it was that actually then brought to pass in all its fullness. So with regard to justification, I must hold, that in the moment when Jesus Christ paid my debts, my debts were cancelled — in the hour when he worked out for me a perfect righteousness it was imputed to me, and therefore I may as a believer say I was complete in Christ before I was born, accepted in Jesus, even as Levi was blessed in the loins of Abraham by Melchisedec; but I know likewise that justification is described in the Scriptures as passing upon me at the time I believe. “Being justified by faith,” I am told “I have peace with God, through Jesus Christ.” I think, therefore that adoption and justification, while they have a very great alliance with eternity, and were virtually done then, yet have both of them such a near relation to us in time, and such a bearing upon our own personal standing and character that they have also a part and parcel of themselves actually carried out and performed in time in the heart of every believer. I may be wrong in this exposition; it requires much more time to study this subject than I have been able yet to give to it, seeing that my years are not yet many; I shall no doubt by degrees come to the knowledge more fully of such high and mysterious points of gospel doctrine. But nevertheless, while I find the majority of sound divines holding that the works of justification and adoption are due in our lives I see, on the other hand, in Scripture much to lead me to believe that both of them were done in eternity; and I think the fairest view of the case is, that while they were virtually done in eternity, yet both adoption and justification are actually passed upon us, in our proper persons, consciences, and experiences, in time, — so that both the Westminster confession and the idea of Dr. Gill can be proved to be Scriptural, and we may hold them both without any prejudice the one to the other.
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    I can see the point of discussion, namely the timing of personal justification as opposed to eternal justification wrought in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Both of these, as stated in your excerpt from Mr. Spurgeon, are established before the foundation of the world (Rom 8:30)

    Much of the timing deals with the effectual call and God's sovereign act of translating us from the world to the Kingdom of the Son of His love (Col 1:12-14).

    Often the Lord speaks of things that are not as though they are, exercising faith in the lives of those who are faithless and disobedient (the elect). He in His mercy gives to us faith to believe by regenerating us and conforming us into His image. Personal justification in time and space is determined by God's secretive will and made to happen in His timing and wisdom. Much of who we are and are to be is determined by the Lord's gifts of justification and sanctification. Those whom He justifies He also glorifies! Though salvation occurs during a person's life at a specific time, it is determined before hand, being justified by Christ's actions and not our determination to accept.

    Please forgive me if I have misunderstood anything you have written so far. I will attempt to clarify or respond in future posts.

    In Him,

    DEL

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    John Brine on Eternal Justification is Attached:
    Attached Files Attached Files
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    From the article by Brine defending eternal justification:
    1. Justification is an immanent, and consequently an eternal act. This argument must be allowed conclusive, unless it can be proved that Justification is a transient act.

    2. The elect were by God considered and viewed in Christ from everlasting; which is excellently expressed by Dr. Goodwin in these words: “Look, as God did not, in his decrees about creation, consider the body of Adam singly, and apart from his soul, nor yet the soul without the body (I speak of his creation and state thereby) neither should either so much as exist, but as the one in the other: So nor Christ and his church in election, which gave the first existence to Christ as a head, and to the church as his body, which each had in God’s decreesf4.” Now as God considers his elect in Christ, they are either objects of condemnation, or Justification. The former must be denied, and therefore the latter evidently follows; except, as God beholds the elect in Christ, they are neither objects of condemnation, nor Justification; which is an absurdity that none will admit.

    3. The elect were blest with all spiritual blessings in Christ before the foundation of the world; and therefore with Justification, for that is a spiritual blessing. “This grace by which we are justified, was given us in Christ from eternity, because from eternity God loved us in Christ, and made us accepted in himf5.”

    4. When Christ, as a surety, engaged for the elect, they were Justified. “At the same time in which Christ became a surety for us, and our sins were imputed to him, we were absolved from guilt, and reputed just; that is, actively justifiedf6:” Which was from everlasting, or before the foundation of the world.

    5. God eternally decreed not to punish sin in his people, but in his Son. His decree to punish sin in his Son, includes his will to impute it to him; and his purpose not to punish it in his elect, takes in his will not to impute it to them, and must be their Justification from all sin in his sight.

    6. “Christ’s atonement and bearing sin was in the eye of God from eternity, as if already done: Hence the patriarchs were actually and personally justified by itf7,” as Dr. Chauncy well observes. Therefore, why may it not be concluded that the elect were justified from everlasting, since God had the atonement of Christ then in his eye? I should be glad to see their arguments thoroughly examined, and solidly refuted, if they do not sufficiently prove what they have brought forth.
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    Originally posted by wildboar
    Through faith we experience our justification.
    Aha! That is exactly what I think! You could say that through faith we experience the declarative aspect of our justification. My question is this.. Is this doctrine of eternal justification mutually exclusive from the doctrine of the triune redemptive covenant of grace? Does belief in eternal justification presuppose a belief in the traditional reformed doctrine of the covenant between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
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    Yes in that the Covenant of Redemption was between the Father and the Son and provides the basis of our justification. It was Jesus' active obedience during His period of probation and subsequent death and resurrection that connects us to His further Covenant of Grace whereby the Father promised the Seed of Abraham a nation of faith (the Elect). The Covenant of Grace is also between the Father and the Son showing the Son as Head of this covenant over the Elect who also fulfills the command to populate the covenant, thus making a people for Himself. When this covenant is fulfilled, the Son will submit everything unto the Father that God may be all in all (1 Cor 15).

    Short and sweet, but accurate to my understanding.

    DEL

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    Is this doctrine of eternal justification mutually exclusive from the doctrine of the triune redemptive covenant of grace?
    Certainly not, it is all part of the same thing.

    Does belief in eternal justification presuppose a belief in the traditional reformed doctrine of the covenant between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
    I think it more often does, but I do not think it is completely necessary. I can see it as completely logically possible that someone holds to no form of the pactum salutis and still holds to justification from all eternity. I, myself have some issues with the traditional view of the pactum salutis as an agreement between the Father and the Son. At its core the covenant is a bond and not an agreement. Marriage is no mere agreement between two parties, it is a bond. Some have taken the contractural idea so far that they picture the Son as bargaining with the Father for the covenant of grace. How we view the Trinity will dramatically affect the way we view the Covenant as David Engelsma has shown in his master's thesis "Trinity and Covenant" (Calvin Theological Seminary, 1994).

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Talking

    Wildboar, you are taking a "one covenant" view and do not understand the discontinuity between covenants!

    Look at the New Covenant Theological site and John Reisinger's book on the 4 Seeds of Abraham, as well as New Covenant Theology by Wells & Zaspel.

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    child of grace:

    I've read the artifcles, I just don't find them convincing.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Justification from Eternity

    Abraham Kuyper is noted as being the first to develop the doctrine of Justification from Eternity. The following link is an extract from one of his books on that subject:
    http://homepage.mac.com/shanerosenth...nk/akjust2.htm
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Samuel Richardson

    Dr. Gill gave us a link to a work by Samuel Richardson, 17th century Calvinistic Baptist, on Justification.

    It is very interesting to note that Richardson was an annihilationist on the doctrine of final punishment. His 1658 book on the subject was entitled "Of the Torments of Hell: The Foundations Thereof Discover'd, Search'd, Shaken and Remov'd, with Many Infallible Proofs That There Is Not to Be a Punishment after This Life for Any to Endure That Shall Never End."

    Richardson is naturally one of the favorite 'stars' in the annihilationist arsenal of touted past proponents of the doctrine.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Bob, he may be a "star", but I wonder if they like to talk about his other theology? hehe

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    Richardson's Orthodox Theology

    The majority of those who hold to annihilationism would not have an interest in orthodox Reformed theology at all. However, there are still those in the tradition of Richardson who would. One of these is the notorious Edward Fudge (a respected member of the Evangelical Theological Society), whom I once saw every year at Christian conferences. His book on hell caused a legion of evangelical and Reformed books in response. His website is www.edwardfudge.com

    I do not agree with Ed on the annihilation of the wicked, as most readers of this forum will know by now. But neither do I agree with those who make confession of the traditional Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim hell a condition of salvation. This is intellectual justification at its worst.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Eternal Justification

    I'm reading through the book John Gill and Justification from Eternity: A Tercentenary Appreciation (1697-1997) by George M. Ella. As far as I know, it's the only book on the subject of justification from eternity. It's very good, and I'm in agreement with the author thus far.
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    Cool Re: Eternal Justification

    Critical Article of Eternal Justification - VERY BAD
    http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/a...detail.php?529

    Eternal Justification and Supralapsarianism
    http://www.prca.org/current/Doctrine/NEWS-E11.htm

    Thoughts on Eternal Justification
    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/L...ification.html
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