Peter Meney on Doctrinal Matters

Ten Arguments For Justification From Eternity

When free-will preachers offer salvation to all they invite an act of faith on the part of the sinner and a life changing ‘decision for Christ’. They deny the sovereign choice of God in salvation, ignore the everlasting covenant of grace and contradict the clear testimony of scripture that the elect are justified from eternity. Here are ten arguments to show such preachers that God’s chosen people are not merely saved by grace in time but accepted in Christ from everlasting.

1. Justification is an act of the eternal God

Justification is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to those who have none of their own. It is pronouncing a person righteous, according to law, as though he had never sinned. John Gill sees justification as ‘an act of God’s grace, whereby he clears his people from sin, discharges them from condemnation, and reckons and accounts them righteous for the sake of Christ’s righteousness, which he has accepted of and imputes unto them.’

Justification is an act which begins and ends in God and takes place outside of time. It is an immanent, internal act, initiated in the eternal will of God, acceptable to His grace and justice, consistent with His love, conducive to His glory. All this God ‘purposed in himself’ (Ephesians 1:9).

2. Christ our eternal Mediator

The mediatorial office of Christ requires that He be mediator between God and some other party. The offices of Christ regarding His saving, substitutionary and representative work could only exist if the elect were, by God, considered and viewed in Christ from eternity.

If God sees His elect in Christ from all eternity, as He does — does He view them as condemned, guilty sinners or holy, justified saints? The answer is self-evident. The elect are in Christ, ‘In whom’, writes Paul, ‘we have obtained an inheritance’ (Ephesians 1:11).

3. Christ our eternal Surety

Hebrews tells us that Jesus became surety of a better testament or covenant (Hebrews 7:22). A surety approaches one party on behalf of another. When Christ as a surety engaged with His Father for the elect from everlasting, they were justified, i.e. they were declared righteous and Christ took on their obligations.

Gill says, when ‘Christ drew nigh to his Father in the council of peace, and undertook to be the Saviour and Redeemer of his people he substituted himself in their place and stead; he interposed between the creditor and the debtor, and became surety for the payment of the debts of the latter, and so stood engaged for them, and in their room’.

4. All spiritual blessings

Justification is a spiritual blessing, ‘It is God that justifieth’ (Romans 8:33). By an eternal act of God the elect were spiritually blessed in Christ within the everlasting covenant. The elect were blessed ‘with all spiritual blessings’ in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-4).

5. The punishment for sin

God decreed not to punish sin in His people but in His Son, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. His decree to punish sin in His Son, who became sin for us, includes also His will to impute sin to Him. Equally, the Father’s purpose not to punish sin in His elect takes in His will not to impute it to them, and is their justification from all sin in His sight (Romans 4:6-8).

6. Justification prior to the cross

Christ’s sin-bearing was in the eye of God from eternity. The patriarchs were justified during their lives but before the time of Christ’s death by being declared righteous on account of the future shed blood of their Redeemer (Job 19:25). Since God has Christ’s atoning work ever before His eyes it is clear that those atoned are also always before God’s eyes. The elect are justified from eternity.

7. Justified when ungodly

The elect are justified whilst ungodly (Romans 4:5), which means before belief and before the presence of personal faith. Justification then, does not hinge upon a sinner’s obedience or personal faith. Rather a sinner is justified upon the ground of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is eternal, and its imputation in the settled purpose of God.

8. The nature of justification

The nature of justification, requires nothing to be done on the part of the justified:

It is an act of God’s free grace (Romans 3:24).

It is a single, comprehensive work for all the elect of God for ever.

It is a complete act for every individual child of God, the elect are never partially justified. There is no gradation or degrees of justification.

It is an equal act for all the elect – no one is more or less justified than another.

It is irreversible – once justified, always justified.

9. Justification apart from faith

Justification does not require the instrument of faith: the elect who die in infancy have not exercised faith or fulfilled the act of believing, yet they are justified. The grace of God is the ultimate cause of justification, not the faith of those justified.

10. Faith flows from justification

The righteousness of Christ is given to sinners so that faith and repentance might ensue. Justification is the cause of faith and faith is the effect of justification. The cleansing blood and perfect righteousness of Christ is the efficient cause of our justification. The faith of the elect is the instrument, or means, by which they apprehend justification and is the free gift of God in Christ (Ephesians 2:8).

Peter Meney is the Pastor of New Focus Church Online and the Editor of "New Focus Magazine" and publisher of sovereign grace material under the Go Publications imprint. The purpose and aim of the magazine and books is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.

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