Saturday, December 09, 2006

Evangelical Justification

"Evangelical justification is the justification of one that has been convicted as guilty before God, the Supreme and Ultimate Judge of the Universe. But the whole world has been tried and found guilty before God. So that, in fact, "there it none righteous; no, not one." Therefore, by deeds of law no man can be justified before Cod. "For should a man keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." He has despised the whole authority of the law and the Lawgiver. It is, then, utterly impossible that any sinner can be forensically or legally justified before God, by a law which he has in any one instance violated.

"If, then, a sinner be justified, it must be on some other principle than law. He must be justified by favor, and not by right. Still it must be rightfully done by him that justifies a transgression, else he will be liable to the charge of injustice to the law and the government. This is the emergency which must be met by evangelical justification. The mission and mediation of the Messiah was primarily to meet this emergency; though, indeed, he has done much more than to meet it. Evangelical justification is, therefore, a justification by favor as respects man; and it has been made just also on the part of God, by the sacrifice or obedience unto death of his Son. Still it must be regarded as not a real or legal justification. It is, as respects man, only pardon, or forgiveness of the past; but the pardoned sinner being ever after treated and regarded as though he were righteous, he is constituted and treated as righteous before God. He is as cordially received into the favor and friendship of God, as though he had never at any time offended against his law. This, then, is what is peculiarly and appropriately called "evangelical justification." Still, legally contemplated, God, in fact, "justifies the ungodly." And so teaches the apostle Paul.

"Still every one of reflection will enquire, how can the justification of the ungodly be regarded as compatible with the justice, the purity, the truthfulness of God? How can he stand justified before the pure, and holy, and righteous peers of his celestial realm--the hierarchs and princes of heaven? This is, indeed, to very many, a profound mystery. And "great," truly "is the mystery of godliness." Standing at this point, and viewing it in all its bearings, heaven is always in rapture, while contemplating this new and grand and glorious revelation of the manifold wisdom of God. It is, however, a revealed mystery. One there is, and was, and evermore will be, who, by his obedience to that violated law, even unto death, has so magnified and made honorable that law and government, as to open a channel through which truth, righteousness, and mercy can harmoniously flow together and justify God, while justifying the sinner, by pardoning him and then treating him as though he never had sinned against his throne and government.

"His death was, therefore, contemplated as the one only true, real, and adequate sin-offering ever presented in this universe, in the presence of God, angels, men, and demons, that does for ever justify God in justifying man. It will forever silence all demur, and fill the universe--heaven and eternity, with the praise of the Lord. Hence, in perfect harmony with all the types of the law, the oracles of the prophets and the promises and covenants of God, he is truly, rightfully, and with the emphatic seal of God, surnamed--"JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Therefore, as with Isaiah--'By the knowledge of him shall my righteous servant justify many whose iniquities he shall have borne.'" ~ Alexander Campbell, The Millennial Harbinger, 1851

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