THE JUSTIFICATION OF GOD’s ELECT – ABSOLUTE, COMPLETE AND FINAL!
The justification of the believer is absolute, complete, final. “It is God that justifieth” (Rom. 8:33), and “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it” (Eccl. 3:14). So absolute and inexorable is this blessed fact that, in Romans 8:30 we are told, “Whom He justified, them He also glorified”: notice it is not simply a promise that God “will glorify,” but so sure and certain is that blissful event, the past tense is used. “Them He also glorified” is speaking from the standpoint of the eternal and unalterable purpose of God, concerning which there is no conditionality or contingency whatsoever.
To be “glorified” is to be perfectly conformed to the lovely image of Christ, when we shall see Him as He is and be made like Him (1 John 3:2). Because God has determined this, He speaks of it as already accomplished, for He “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17).
So far as the believer is concerned, the penal side of the sin question has been settled once and for all. His case has been tried in the supreme court, and God has justified him: in consequence thereof the Divine decision is “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Once those very persons were under condemnation—”condemned already” (John 3:18); but now that their faith has united them to Christ there is no condemnation. The debt of their sin has been paid by their great Surety; the record thereof has been “blotted out” by His cleansing blood. “It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth” (Rom. 8:33, 34). Who will reverse His decision! Where is that superior tribunal to which this cause can be carried? Eternal justice has pronounced her fiat; immutable judgment has recorded her sentence.
It is utterly and absolutely impossible that the sentence of the Divine Judge should ever be revoked or reversed. His sentence of justification results from and rests upon a complete satisfaction having been offered to His Law, and that in the fulfillment of a covenant engagement. Thus is effectually precluded the recall of the verdict. The Father stipulated to release His elect from the curse of the law provided the Son would meet the claims of justice against them. The Son freely complied with His Father’s will: “Lo, I come.” He was now made under the law, fulfilled the law, and suffered the full penalty of the law; therefore shall He see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Sooner shall the lightenings of omnipotence shiver the Rock of Ages than those sheltering in Him again be brought under condemnation.
How very, very far from the glorious truth of the Gospel is the mere conditional pardon which Arminians represent God as bestowing upon those who come to Christ—a pardon which may be rescinded, yea, which will be canceled, unless they “do their part” and perform certain stipulations! What a horrible and blasphemous travesty of the Truth is that!—an error which must be steadfastly resisted no matter who holds it: better far to hurt the feelings of a million of our fellow-creatures than to displease their august Creator. On no such precarious basis as our fulfilling certain conditions has God suspended the justification of His people. Not only is there “now no condemnation” resting upon the believer, but there never again shall me, for “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Rom. 4:8).
The dread sentence of the law, “Thou shalt surely die,” cannot in justice be executed upon the sinner’s Surety and also upon himself. Hence by a necessity existing in the very nature of moral government, it must follow that the believing sinner be freed from all condemnation, that is, so cleared of the same that he is raised above all liability to punishment. So declared our blessed Saviour Himself, in words too plain and emphatic to admit of any misunderstanding: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
He, the habitation of whose throne is “justice and judgment,” has sealed up this declaration forever, by affirming “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Sooner shall the sword of justice cleave the helmet of the Almighty than any Divinely pardoned soul perish.
But not only are the sins of all who truly come to Christ eternally remitted, but the very righteousness of the Redeemer passes over to them, is placed upon them, so that a perfect obedience to the law is imputed to their account. It is theirs, not by promise, but by gift (Rom. 5:17), by actual bestowment. It is not simply that God treats them as if they were righteous, they are righteous and so pronounced by Him. And therefore may each believing soul exclaim, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10).
O that each Christian reader may be enabled to clearly and strongly grasp hold of this glorious fact: that he is now truly righteous in the sight of God, is in actual possession of an obedience which answers every demand of the law.