Friday, January 27, 2012
Notes on Justification: R.L. Dabney
Luther declared justification to be the cardinal doctrine of the Church’s creed.
The meaning is to be declared righteous or made righteous in the forensic sense; and that the act of justification does not change the moral state, but only declares, in the forum of heaven, the legal state of the sinner.
The Holy Ghost, then, by justification, intends a forensic act, and not a moral change.
There is no other justification than that which Romanists describe as the initiation thereof, which is a complete and absolute act; done for the believer once for all, perfect and complete in all, needing and admitting no increment; and above all, that God is not moved in any sort, to bestow this grace of justification by the congruous merit of our inwrought holiness; but that this latter is, on the contrary, one of the fruits of our justification. We utterly exclude our own inherent holiness.
The catechism defines justification as a pardoning of all our sins, and an acceptance of us as righteous in God’s sight. It is more than remission, bestowing also a title to God’s favor, and adoption to that grace and glory which would have been won had we perfectly kept the Covenant of Works.