A.W. Pink Defines The Doctrine Of Justification

Originally posted at: Exploring Theology
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Justification has to do solely with the legal side of salvation. It is a judicial term, a word of the law courts. It is the sentence of a judge upon a person who has been brought before him for judgment. It is that gracious act of God as Judge, in the high court of Heaven, by which He pronounces an elect and believing sinner to be freed from the penalty of the law, and fully restored unto the Divine favour. It is the declaration of God that the party arraigned is fully conformed to the law; justice exonerates him because justice has been satisfied. Thus, justification is that change of status whereby one, who being guilty before God, and therefore under the condemning sentence of His Law, and deserving of nought but an eternal banishment from His presence, is received into His favour and given a right unto all the blessings which Christ has, by His perfect satisfaction, purchased for His people.

This is from Chapter Two of Pink’s book The Doctrine of Justification.  You can find it online here.

Do you agree or disagree with this definition?  If disagree, please provide an alternative definition.

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2 Responses to A.W. Pink Defines The Doctrine Of Justification

  1. seau92037 says:

    Pink’s definition is only partially correct at best. Justification in it’s fullest sense means to be made righteous. Forgiveness for past sins is only the first step in the process of being made righteous. A forgiven sinner who continues to sin is not yet made righteous. He who commits sin is still the servant of sin (John 8:34). So to be free of sin, or saved from sin, is more than forgiveness alone.

    We are reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus (forgiveness), but we shall be saved by his life (Romans 5:10). Being saved is a lifelong process, in which God cleanses us of all unrighteousness (1John 1:9) and transforms us by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2) thereby creating in us His righteousness, the righteousness which is by faith (Philippians 3:9). We are to be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) until it becomes our own. Until we measure up to Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Until Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19). Remember, the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).

    Finally, for those who still think that justification is only about forgiveness, read 1 Timothy 3:16 — Jesus was “justified in the Spirit” (AV). But Jesus never sinned. Thus, justification cannot be only about forgiveness.

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  2. Tom says:

    Seau92037,

    I agree with you in that Justification has two parts to it. Wayne Grudem defined it this way:

    An instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.” [from Systematic Theology by Grudem, p. 723]

    I do have a point I must disagree with you on. It is probably just a simple error on your part but I need to clarify it. You said that “being saved” (salvation)

    is a lifelong process, in which God cleanses us of all unrighteousness (1John 1:9) and transforms us by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2) thereby creating in us His righteousness, the righteousness which is by faith (Philippians 3:9). We are to be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) until it becomes our own. Until we measure up to Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:13)

    Salvation is something that happens at one moment in time. I will grant you that salvation is not “complete” until we enter Heaven but once God saves us, it is as good as completed because He promises to complete the good work He has started in us (Philippians 1:6). There is nothing more that needs to be done.

    Sanctification, on the other hand, is a lifelong process. Sanctification includes all the things you list. It simply means becoming more Christ-like. That is something all Christians should strive for and will accomplish as we mature in our faith. God works in us to bring us closer to Christ and to be more like Him.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

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