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Lutheran Justification #1887
Fri Mar 28, 2003 9:25 PM
Fri Mar 28, 2003 9:25 PM

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While gamboling upon the electronic frontier known as the internet I happened to come upon a curious thing and decided to throw it out here for discussion.<br><br><blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]Doctrine of Justification<br><br>If there is one doctrine on which the Lutheran Church may be said to be a unit and on which it presents a united front, it is the doctrine of Justification by Faith alone, a doctrine which was the material principle of the Reformation. And yet many writers ignore or overlook a feature which constitutes the foundation of this doctrine and which is necessary for it’s right understanding, viz., Objective Justification. <br><br> Objective Justification may be defined as God’s declaration of amnesty to the whole world of sinners on the basis of the vicarious obedience of Christ, by which He secured a perfect righteousness for all mankind, which God accepted as a reconciliation of the world to Himself, imputing to mankind the merit of the Redeemer. <br><br> While this form of Justification is not what is usually understood by the term, it has abundant testimony from Scripture, as the following quotations will show: <br><br>“Therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men unto condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:18-19). <br><br>“Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. 4:25). <br><br>“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:19). <br><br>“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21). <br><br>“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2). <br><br> Subjective, or Personal or Individual Justification, or the act of God by which, out of pure mercy and grace for Christ’s sake, He pronounces the believers free from guilt and punishment and actually clothed with the imputed righteousness of Christ while he is in a state of faith, is the actual acceptance by faith of the Objective Justification. <br><br> In the Gospel God announces to all men His grace and mercy in Christ, offers to all who hear it the forgiveness of sins and the merit of Christ, and actually operates these affects wherever they are not rendered void by obstinate resistance. (Cf. 2 Thess. 2:10,13; Rom. 1:16; Matt. 23:37; Luke 19:41-42). <br><br> If personal or subjective Justification is the acceptance by faith of objective Justification it is manifest that it does not take place “in view of faith.” Thus a synergistic view of Justification is avoided. This is the chief advantage in treating the subject under these two forms.</font><hr></blockquote><p><br><br><br>So as I understand this God has forgiven the entire world, and reconciled all sinners to himself, but that actual justification (subjective justification) doesn't occur until it is applied to believer when God generates faith in them. Thus there is no double predestination, only single predestination.<br>

Re: Lutheran Justification #1888
Sat Mar 29, 2003 11:22 AM
Sat Mar 29, 2003 11:22 AM
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Tom Offline
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Prestor John<br><br>That is how I understand what Lutherans believe.<br>I have been in a conversation with a few Lutherans, and no matter how much dialogue we as Calvinists gave on the subject, they (Lutherans) came back with the same kind of answer. Basically they believe that we as Calvinists do not understand what it really means to be justified by faith. They keep saying that when it really comes down to it, what we believe is really no different than what Arminians believe.<br>If one uses James 2:16-17, they will tell you that James was not talking about the same kind of faith that Paul was talking about.<br>If you would like, I can give you a link to show you this dialogue.<br>They also say that in our systematic theology we change the obvious meaning of Scripture, in order to make it fit into our dogma.<br>John 3:16 is one such verse that they use as an example of this. <br><br>I have been in conversation enough with them, to steer clear of that kind of conversation with them. I felt like I was banging my head against a wall.<br><br><br><br>Tom

Re: Lutheran Justification #1889
Sat Mar 29, 2003 12:55 PM
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[img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/dizzy.gif" alt="dizzy" title="dizzy[/img] So are Lutherans universalists? I don't understand the need for subjective or personal justification if all are already granted "amnesty" unless it is merely to "activate" the objective justification. I don't have the sophistication of thought to figure this out. This seems more like Arminianism to me.


Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence." - St. Augustine
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Re: Lutheran Justification [Re: gotribe] #1890
Sat Mar 29, 2003 1:27 PM
Sat Mar 29, 2003 1:27 PM
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gotribe<br><br>From my discussions with Lutherans they claim not to be universalists, but I can't understand how they can be anything but.[img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/confused.gif" alt="confused" title="confused[/img]<br>Tom

Re: Lutheran Justification #1891
Sat Mar 29, 2003 3:09 PM
Sat Mar 29, 2003 3:09 PM
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PrestorJohn<br><br>I thought I would give you an idea of what I was talking about in my last post, by giving you a quote from a Lutheran.<br><br>"Please keep in mind that the subject that I believe we are dealing with is the subject of Justification, i.e. our right standing "before God". We have used the general term "salvation". <br><br>My understanding of the subject is that our standing justified "before God", i.e. our salvation, is due to Christ's work, completed by Him, alone. Therefore nothing coming from man's response, including repentance, "justifies" himself before God. If anything is required of men to be "justified before God", then it is not Christ "alone", that is our salvation, but Christ plus whatever God requires of man. I believe the tendency of some is to think that "Sure, Christ died for me, but that will not avail me any good at all unless I repent of my sins", thus making "justification" contingent upon one's repentance. I think the tendency is to combine my acceptance with "Christ's work" as the basis of a "right standing" before God. This combining of two things,i.e. Christ's death and my repentence nullifies the "perfect truth" of the gospel, as I understand it and believe it. <br><br>I know that this might have already been said, but I hope this will clarify the subject, as much as is possible by my limited ability to communicate. I in no way want to leave the impression that repentance is unnecessary, but only that our "justification in God's sight" is not contingent upon our repenting. To me this is the issue of the true gospel of Christ. That is why, I believe, that Paul says that he determined to know nothing among those to whom he preached except Christ and Him crucified. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This is the gospel. Our Justification/salvation is due to His death alone because, simply put, that is the only worth that appeases God's wrath toward the world. It is Christ's death that is the cause of God's "not counting men's sins against them in Christ". <br><br>It is the forgiveness that Christ purchased on the cross and that by which we are now "justified before God". It is that same forgiveness that is proclaimed in the gospel.<br><br>There is nothing required of men to come, but they come because they simply believe the truth of the gospel i.e. that they are accepted by God on "Christ's behalf". <br><br>All things are ready, come to the feast. Jesus Paid it all. Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling. Just as I am without one plea. <br><br>And, "not by works lest any man should boast". "God credits righteousness apart from works"; "a righteousness of God apart from law"<br><br>The truth of the gospel does not teach men to continue in sin but rather calls them "to the obedience that comes through faith" (Rom. 1:5). Thus repentance issues from the faith given in the gospel i.e. from a grateful heart and leading of the Spirit of God who now is at work in us (Phil 2:13)."<br><br><br>

Re: Lutheran Justification [Re: Tom] #1892
Sat Mar 29, 2003 3:38 PM
Sat Mar 29, 2003 3:38 PM
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Tom,

Technically, and very importantly, this author is in error. It is NOT Christ's atoning work ALONE that "justifies" in and of itself. Let me try and make this a bit clearer. We must make a clear distinction between what Christ ACCOMPLISHED in behalf of those whom the Father gave Him and the APPLICATION of that atoning work. Christ's death does NOT "justify" anyone. Justification is a temporal act on God's part whereby He declares a believer, i.e., one who puts faith in Christ (not just His death) not guilty, aka: Justified (forensically), i.e., the believer is not "made righteous" intrinsically. Until the prerequisites of repentance and faith are exercised by a sinner, there can be no justification. Faith is that which unites a person to Christ. And with that union comes justification.

Now, to apply this to Prestor's Lutheran antagonists..... their concept of "objective justification" is fallacious because it obfuscates this distinction between that which is objectively accomplished by Christ's active and passive obedience and the application of that work. Until that which Christ secured is applied, nothing in the way of "justification" is realized. Moreover, the two are inseparably linked by God's eternal purpose (decree), for the means of salvation are no less ordained than the end of that salvation. Thus Christ's atonement is but a part of the whole, when we consider salvation eschatologically.


Two excellent sources to consult on this issue are:
    [*]Redemption: Accomplished and Applied by Prof. John Murray[*]and, Justification by Faith Alone (The Relation of Faith to Justification) by Dr. Joel R. Beeke.[/LIST]In His Grace,


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Re: Lutheran Justification [Re: Pilgrim] #1893
Sat Mar 29, 2003 4:49 PM
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Pilgrim<br><br>Though I couldn't put it quite as good as you do, I certainly agree with you that this author (JG a Lutheran) is in error.<br>The reason I posted this is to give an example of what Lutherans believe.

Re: Lutheran Justification [Re: Tom] #1894
Mon Mar 31, 2003 7:40 AM
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If one uses James 2:16-17, they will tell you that James was not talking about the same kind of faith that Paul was talking about.<br>Tom,<br>I apologize, but I'm confused as to what you mean by this. Was James speaking of a true faith like Paul? It seems to me he was speaking of a different kind of "faith", i.e. one that isn't really faith, but a false confession. If the faith was not attested by works, it is not really faith. What do the Lutherans say about this verse? The link would be great, Tom!<br>Thanks,<br>Steve


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Re: Lutheran Justification [Re: li0scc0] #1895
Mon Mar 31, 2003 5:06 PM
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liOsccO<br><br>Perhaps by quoting you some of the discussion between myself and JG (a Lutheran) it will help you understand what they believe.<br><br>JG<br><br>What you don't seem to understand about Calvinist theology, is that we believe in faith alone, but not a faith that is alone.<br>James says it this way: 14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.<br><br>Notice in verse 18 it says "and I will shew thee my faith by my works." <br>This is a lot different than RC's believe, for they believe faith + works saves. Not faith that works saves.<br>Just because I think it makes it even clearer, I will post the rest of the chapter.<br>19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. <br><br> <br>JG<br>Unregistered User<br>(3/4/03 5:58:40 am)<br>Reply Christ alone<br>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br> Hi Stephen and Tom,<br><br>Tom,<br>Lutherans also believe that faith does work, but work and faith are not combined but remain distinct from one another. Faith cannot be defined by "belief" plus "works". To do this is to create an understanding of salvation before the Reformation. A key doctrine of the true church is the doctrine of justification which is based on "sola fide". One's Justification is declared by God based on Christ's work alone. Righteousness is credited to the man that does not work but trusts God (Rom. 4:5). For a man to put any "stock" in his own works produces a "synergistic" doctrine of justification/salvation that leads away from the truth that the cause of our being declared "righteous" is due to Christ alone. <br> Contrary to the understanding of some, James is not dealing with the doctrine of Justification "in the sight of God"."<br><br>li0scc0, notice his last line.<br><br><br><br>


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