Chapter 11: Of Justification

  1. Those whom God effectually calls he also freely justifies.1 He does this not by infusing [introducing] righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins2 and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous, not for anything worked in them or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone.3 God justifies not by imputing [counting or reckoning] to them, as their righteousness, either faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience.4 Rather, God justifies by imputing to them Christ’s active obedience to the whole law and his passive obedience in his death (which are their entire and only righteousness), and they receive and rest [rely] on Christ and his righteousness by faith. This faith is not produced by themselves, but is the gift of God.5

1 Rom 3.24; Rom 8.30 2 Rom 4.5-8; Eph 1.7 3 1Cor 1.30-31; Rom 5.17-19 4 Phil 3.8-9; Eph 2.8-10 5 Jn 1.12; Rom 5.17

  1. Faith receiving and resting [relying] on Christ and his righteousness in this way is the sole instrument of justification.6 However, it is not alone [without accompaniment] in the person justified, but is always accompanied by all other saving graces; it is not dead faith, but it works [is exercised and revealed] by [means of] love.7

6 Rom 3.28 7 Gal 5.6; Jas 2.17, 22, 26

  1. Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified; he made a proper [appropriate], real and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf by the sacrifice of himself, in the blood of his cross, undergoing [suffering] in their place the penalty due to them.8 However, insofar as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their place (and both of these done freely, not for anything in them),9 their justification is only of free grace, so that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.10

8 Heb 10.14; 1Pt 1.18-19; Is 53.5-6 9 Rom 8.32; 2Cor 5.21 10 Rom 3.26; Eph 1.6-7; Eph 2.7

  1. God decreed from all eternity to justify all the elect, and Christ in the fullness of time died for their sins11 and rose again for their justification.12 Nevertheless, they are not personally justified until the Holy Spirit in due time actually applies Christ to them.13

11 Gal 3.8; 1Pt 1.2; 1Tim 2.6 12 Rom 4.25 13 Col 1.21-22; Ti 3.4-7

  1. God continues to forgive the sins of those who are justified.14 Although they can never fall from the state of justification,15 they may, because of their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure.16 In that condition, they do not usually have the light of his countenance [face] restored to them until they humble themselves, confess their sins, plead for pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.17

14 Mt 6.12; 1Jn 1.7, 9 15 Jn 10.28 16 Ps 89.31-33 17 Ps 32.5; Ps 51; Mt 26.75

  1. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, identical with the justification of believers under the New Testament.18

18 Gal 3.9; Rom 4.22-24