Reduced Into One Law
Rabbi Simlai in the third century noted that Moses gave us 365 prohibitions and 248 positive commands. David in Psalm 15 reduced them to eleven: Isaiah—in 33:14, 15—made them six: Micah 6:8 binds them into three: and Habakkuk reduces them all to one, namely—”The just shall live by faith.”
Court Could Not Give Mercy
Judge Kaufman presided at the trial of the Russian spies, the Rosenbergs. They were charged with and convicted of treason against the United States and sentenced to death.
In his summation at the end of the long and bitter trial, the lawyer for the Rosenbergs said animatedly, “Your Honor, what my clients ask for is justice.”
Judge Kaufman replied calmly, “The court has given what you ask for—justice! What you really want is mercy. But that is something this court has no right to give.”
He Admitted To The Governor
Governor Neff, of Texas, visited the penitentiary of that state and spoke to the assembled convicts. When he had finished he said that he would remain behind, and that if any man wanted to speak with him, he would gladly listen. He further announced that he would listen in confidence, and that nothing a man might say would be used against him.
When the meeting was over a large group of men remained, many of them life-termers. One by one they passed by, each telling the governor that there had been a frame-up, an injustice, and judicial blunder, and each asking that he be freed. Finally one man came up and said, “Mr. Governor, I just want to say that I am guilty. I did what they sent me here for. But I believe I have paid for it, and if I were granted the right to go out, I would do everything I could to be a good citizen and prove myself worthy of your mercy.”
This, of course, was the man whom the governor pardoned.
—Donald Grey Barnhouse
Justification — a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon (q.v.) of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Rom. 5:1–10).
It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of his Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:3–9). Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness which perfectly and for ever satisfies the law, namely, Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6–8).
The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer is faith in or on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is called a “condition,” not because it possesses any merit, but only because it is the instrument, the only instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ and his righteousness (Rom. 1:17; 3:25, 26; 4:20, 22; Phil. 3:8–11; Gal. 2:16).
The act of faith which thus secures our justification secures also at the same time our sanctification (q.v.); and thus the doctrine of justification by faith does not lead to licentiousness (Rom. 6:2–7). Good works, while not the ground, are the certain consequence of justification (6:14; 7:6). (See GALATIANS, EPISTLE TO.)
Justification means to Paul God’s act of remitting the sins of guilty men, and accounting them righteous, freely, by his grace, through faith in Christ, on the ground, not of their own works, but of the representative law-keeping and redemptive blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus Christ on their behalf. (For the parts of this definition, see Rom. 3:23–26; 4:5–8; 5:18f.) Paul’s doctrine of justification is his characteristic way of formulating the central gospel truth, that God forgives believing sinners. Theologically, it is the most highly developed expression of this truth in the NT.
JUSTIFICATION. Gen. 15:6 Rom. 4:3. Psa. 32:2 Rom. 4:6. Psa. 71:16; Psa. 89:16; Isa. 42:21; Isa. 45:24, 25; Isa. 46:12, 13; Isa. 50:8; Isa. 51:5, 6; Isa. 53:11; Isa. 54:17; Isa. 56:1; Isa. 61:10; Jer. 23:6; Zech. 3:4; John 5:24; Acts 13:39; Rom. 1:16, 17 Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11. Rom. 2:13; Rom. 3:21–26, 28, 30; Rom. 4:5–25; Rom. 5:1, 9, 11, 16–18, 21 vs. 12–21.; Rom. 6:22; Rom. 7:4 vs. 1–25.; Rom. 8:1, 30, 31, 33, 34; Rom. 9:30–32; Rom. 10:4–6, 8–11 vs. 1–21.; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 5:19, 21; Gal. 2:16 vs. 14–21.; Gal. 3:8, 9 [v. 6.] Gal. 3:21, 22, 24 Gal. 4:21–31. Gal. 5:4–6; Eph. 6:14; Phil. 3:8, 9; Col. 2:13, 14; Tit. 3:7; Heb. 11:4, 7; Jas. 2:20–23, 26
NT New Testament
Wood, D. R. W.: New Bible Dictionary. InterVarsity Press, 1996, c1982, c1962, S. 637
Swanson, James ; Nave, Orville: New Nave's. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, 1994