Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Below are quotes from John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied. The outline is my own, based on Murray's flow of thought; in a few cases, the quotes have been slightly re-arranged from the order in which they occur in Murray's chapter:

I. The Need for Justification
John Murray

A. God's Wrath: "[W]e are all wrong with [God] because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God[, earning] God's wrath (Rom 1:18): this is our situation and it is our relation to God; [therefore,] how can we be right with him?"

B. The Question Raised: "[H]ow can sinful man become just with God?... Justification is the answer and justification is the act of God's free grace. (Rom 8:33)

II. The Definition of Justification

A. Justification is NOT to be Confused with Regeneration, Sanctification, or Glorification: "Justification does not mean to make righteous, or good, or holy, or upright. It is perfectly true that in the application of redemption God makes people holy and upright. He renews them after his own image. He begins to do this in regeneration and he carries it on in the work of sanctification. He will perfect it in glorification. But justification does not refer to this renewing and sanctifying grace of God."

B. According to the Common Use of the Term, "Justification" Does NOT Mean "To Make Righteous": "When we justify a person we do not make that person good or upright. When a judge justifies an accused person he does not make that person an upright person. He simply declares that in his judgment the person is not guilty of the accusation but is upright in terms of the law relevant to the case. In a word, justification is simply a declaration or pronouncement respecting the relation of the person to the law which he, the judge, is required to administer."

C. According to the Biblical Use of the Term, "Justification" Does NOT Mean "To Make Righteous":

1. As seen in the activity of righteous judges under the Mosaic Law: "[In the OT Law-as seen in passages like Deut 25:1] it was not the function of judges to make people righteous. The meaning is simply and only that the judges were to give a just judgment..."

2. As seen in the contrast between justification and condemnation: "Justification is contrasted with condemnation (cf. Deut 25:1; Prov 17:15; Rom 8:33-34). Condemn never means to make wicked, and so justify cannot mean to make good or upright" [emphasis added].

D. JUSTIFICATION IS FORENSIC: "It has to do with a judgment given, declared, or pronounced;"

III. Justification Based Upon Imputation

A. The Difference Between Human and Divine Justification: "Man must condemn the wicked, and he may justify only the righteous... God justifies the ungodly" [emphases in original].

B. Divine Justification a "Constitutive Act": "Justification is therefore a constitutive act whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our account and we are accordingly accepted as righteous in God's sight."

C. The Ground of Justification, NOT Our Own Works: "Justification is not by the righteousness of performance on our part; it is not of works (Rom 3:20; 4:2; 10:3-4; Gal 2:16; 3:11; 5:4; Phil 3:9)."

D. The Ground of Justification, An Alien Righteousness:

1. The righteousness of God: "It is by the righteousness of God that we are justified (Rom 1:17; 3:21-22; 10:3; Phil 3:9)."

2. The obedience of Christ: "The obedience of Christ must therefore be regarded as the ground of justification: it is the righteousness which God not only takes into account but reckons to our account when he justifies the ungodly"[emphases in original]... "The righteousness of justification is the righteousness and obedience of Christ (Rom 5:17-19)."

IV. Justification Is By Faith Alone

A. PROOFS: "We are justified by faith, or through faith, or upon faith (cf. Rom 1:17; 3:22, 25-28, 30; 4:3,5,16, 24; 5:1; Gal 2:16; 3:8-9; 5:4-5; Phil 3:9)."

B. Faith, the Instrument by Which We Are Justified: "[F]aith is an indispensable instrumentality in connection with justification."

C. Faith, The Prerequisite to Justification: "We are justified by faith and faith is the prerequisite... God justifies those who believe in Jesus and upon the event of faith."

D. Faith Takes Hold of Christ and His Righteousness: "[F]aith... receives and rests upon another, in this case Christ and his righteousness."

E. Faith and Works Antithetical: "Faith stands in antithesis to works; there can be no amalgam of these two (cf. Gal 5:4)."

V. The Old Objection: 'Justification by Faith Alone Leads to License'

A. Justifying Faith Works Itself Out Through Love: "Faith works itself out through love (cf. Gal 5:6)."

B. Justifying Faith Does Works: "And faith without works is dead" (cf. James 2:17-20).

C. Justifying Faith Is Living Faith: "It is living faith that justifies and living faith unites to Christ both in virtue of his death and in the power of his resurrection. No one has entrusted himself to Christ for the deliverance from the guilt of sin who has not also entrusted himself to him for the deliverance from the power of sin" (Rom 6:1-2).


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

"Justification Without Works"

The following are select quotes from Benjamin Keach's The Marrow of True Justification, a small book consisting of two sermons from Keach on Romans 4:5

The necessity of preaching justification:

"Other subjects a minister may preach upon, and that unto the profit and advantage of the people; but this he must preach-this he cannot omit-if he would truly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Justification and the Covenant of Grace:

"Was it not the exaltation of the glory of God in all His attributes and blessed perfections, which was the result of that glorious counsel-held above between the Father and the Son, before the world began-in the bringing in and establishing of the Covenant of Grace?"

"[T]hat which Christ did and suffered, He did and suffered as a common person: as a head, surety, and representative for all the elect;"

The definition of justification:

"Justification is an absolute act of God's most sovereign grace, whereby He imputes the complete and perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to a believing sinner (though ungodly in himself), absolving him from all his sins, and accepting him as righteous in Christ."

"Justification is the acceptance of a sinner with God as righteous, through the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to him."

Justification is by faith alone:

"[B]elieving sinners are made partakers of Christ's righteousness, and the benefits of it: and that by faith alone, as that by which we wholly fly to Him for righteousness, trusting in the promise of life for his sake and merits."

Justification is on the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ:

"[B]y Christ's righteousness imputed, he that believes is perfectly justified, and is freed from the curse of the Law, and accepted, and accounted righteous in the sight of God, and hereby hath a certain title to eternal life."

Our works have NO part of the basis for our justification:

"[A]ll works done by the creature are utterly excluded in point of justification in the sight of God."

"Good works done [even] by saints and godly persons cannot justify them in God's sight."

"[S]ince all boasting is excluded [from justification], all works are excluded."

"[E]very man before he is justified is like an evil tree,  and therefore can bring forth no good fruit, no good works; wherefore all works, 'tis evident, before faith and justification, are utterly excluded [as the basis for our justification]."

"[T]he doctrine that mixes any works of righteousness done by the creature with faith or the free grace of God-in point of justification-gives the Scripture the lie; therefore, that doctrine is false, and to be rejected."

"[A]ll works done by the creature are utterly excluded in point of justification..."

"Grace and works (let works be of what sort they will) are directly contrary, the one to the other. (See Rom 11:6)."

"There is no mixing of works and free grace together, but one of these does and will destroy the nature of the other; and as it holds true in election, so in justification: if justification was partly of grace, and partly of works done by the creature, or from foreseen holiness and sincere obedience done by us, then grace is no more grace, or works no more works."

Law and gospel:

"[The terms of the Law and the terms of the gospel] differ not only in degree, but in their whole nature."

"[T]he Apostle proves that the justice of God requires a perfect or sinless righteousness in point of justification, and also he proves that all have sinned."

"[T]he Law of God is but as a transcript, or written impression of that holiness and purity that is in His own nature, and serves to show us what a righteousness we must be found in, if we are ever justified in His sight."

"[Righteousness] must be fulfilled by us in our own persons, or by our Surety for us, and imputed to us."

"The [Moral] Law did not only proceed from the will of God, doubtless, as an act of His sovereign will and prerogative [i.e., as a Positive Law], but as an act proceeding from His infinite justice and holiness." [Therefore, God cannot lessen the demands of the Moral Law without contradicting His holy character.]

"[W]e are still under obedience to the Moral Law, the substance of which is to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. By the 'Law' is meant 'that rule of life God hath given,' whether as written in the heart, or given by Moses,"

"[N]o man, because a sinner, can be justified by his own works righteousness, or obedience; but all men are sinners,"

"God is just as well as gracious (Rom 3:26). He cannot suffer any wrong to be done to His holy Law."

"[W]hat we could not do in keeping perfectly the Law, He sent His Son in our nature, as our surety and representative, to do it for us."

"[B]y faith we get or attain to a perfect righteousness; even such a righteousness as the Law requires, by being interested in the complete and perfect righteousness and obedience of Christ to the Moral Law, in whom every type and shadow of the Ceremonial Law, and in whom each promise and prophecy is fulfilled also:"

Gospel call:

"Remember, sinners, you are guilty and must be justified in a way of righteousness as well as pardoned in a way of sovereign mercy,"

"[A]ll we have is of God's free grace."

"Sirs, there is no way in order to peace of conscience for us, but to do as Paul did, i.e., renounce all our inherent righteousness and obedience, and fly to the doctrine of justification by the grace of God, through the complete righteousness of Jesus Christ received by faith only."


Monday, March 02, 2015

"The Extent of the Atonement"

Below are quotes from John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied:
John Murray

"[S]ince all benefits and blessings are in the realm of Christ's dominion, and since this dominion rests upon His finished work of atonement, the benefits innumerable that are enjoyed by all men indiscriminately are related to the death of Christ and may be said to accrue from it in one way or another."

"Christ[, however,] did not come to put men in a redeemable position but to redeem to Himself a people." [Murray cites Rev 5:9; Heb 9:12; Tit 2:14.]

"The doctrine of the atonement must be radically revised if, as atonement, it applies to those who finally perish as well as those who are the heirs of eternal life."

"All for whom Christ died also died in Christ. All who died in Christ rose again with Christ." [Murray cites Rom 6:4-5; 2 Cor 5:14-15; Col 3:3.]

"[T]hose for whom Christ died are those and those only who die to sin and live to righteousness."

"[T]he death of Christ in its specific character as atonement was for those and those only who are in due time partakers of that new life of which Christ's resurrection is the pledge and pattern."