Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My View of Justification

Years ago at Dallas Seminary my professor of Romans, Harold Hoehner, made what I thought was a pretty bold statement:
"The Gospel is not, 'Jesus will pay for your sins if you believe,' nor is it, 'Jesus will pay for your sins if you believe hard enough.' Rather, the Gospel is this: 'Jesus has paid for your sins. You are forgiven. Will you believe?'"
Dr. Hoehner made this declaration as we were studying Romans 3:21-26. His point about justification was that the provision of God's righteousness in Jesus Christ's death has satisfied God for both the sins of the past and the present. Anyone then who believes in God's provision in Jesus acquires a right standing before God.

I've never forgotten the statement and since that time I've adopted it as my own.

Little did I know that this view about justification is rooted in my Lutheran heritage. Gene Edward Veith-- author, culture editor at World Magazine, and educator at Concordia Theological Seminary, writes at his blog Cranach that this is actually:
"... a neglected teaching of Lutheran orthodoxy: the doctrine of objective justification. Christ has already justified the world. Each person now needs "subjective justification," the personal appropriation of Christ's work. But we can look at each person we see, including non-Christians, as one of Christ's redeemed children."
Inclusivism, sometimes called pluralism, is a misguided, but growing belief in the mainline church that asserts that everyone is already saved. It's off-base because it neglects the necessity of faith in Jesus, without which it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Even the world's best known Bible verse, John 3:16, makes plain the necessity of faith in Jesus and the consequence of not trusting him.

Through the cross, Jesus has accomplished everything necessary for our forgiveness. God is thoroughly satisfied with the atoning work of His son. The table is set for reconciliation.

Have you believed?


ReformationUCC said...


It's interesting that you have a Lutheran background, went to a dispensational seminary and are now in a Congregational church with a reformed background (at least "way back when" in New England)!

Living the Biblios said...

Yep. You can say I'm a spiritual mutt!