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THE RELATIONSHIP OF JUSTIFCATION AND SANCTIFICATION TO THE WORK OF SALVATION

Research Paper Dr. Schulze Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia

Systematic Theology II THEO 530

By Francisco I. Victa Student ID# L23836392 December 16, 2011

Table of Contents Thesis Statement1 Introduction2 A Classic Argument from Romans3 Objection to Justification #1: Roman Catholicism.6 Objection to Justification #2: The NPP.10 A Reply to the Roman Catholicism View of Justification.14 A Reply to the NPP15 The Distinction and Union of Justification and Sanctification..17 Conclusion..20 Bibliography22

Thesis Statement The confession of divine justification touches mans life at its heart, at the point of its relationship to God; it defines the preaching of the Church, the existence and the progress of the life of faith, the root of human security, and mans perspective for the future.1 In this essay, the author will stand with historical Protestants and show that justification is the articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesia----the point on which all depends the standing or falling of the church.2 The author will stand with the historic protestant doctrine of justification that says the ungodly are declared righteous by faith and sanctified by faith. Furthermore, this essay will contend that justification and sanctification both occur at salvation. However, a distinction will be made in the finality of justification at salvation and the progress of the life of faith involved in sanctification. Both terms will be defined biblically. Objections to the reformed position of justification and sanctification will be explored and investigated. Specifically, the Roman Catholic view of justification and sanctification will be considered, along with some more modern interpretations, such as the New Perspective of Paul. Lastly, the author will consider some of the differing opinions on sanctification, while concluding that the reformed position is the most biblically accurate view of both justification and sanctification.

1 2

Gerrit C. Berkouwer, Faith and Sanctification. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1969.17. J. I Packer,. A Quest for Godliness: the Puritan Vision of the Christian Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994.149.

Introduction In order to understand justification, it is necessary to first understand the biblical concept of righteousness, for justification is a restoration of an individual to a state of righteousness. The Hebrew word righteousness, tsadaq, means to conform to a given norm. In the Hiphil stem it means to declare righteous or to justify.3 Clearly righteousness is understood as a matter of living up to the standards set for a relationship.4 In Scripture, the concept of righteousness appears in a forensic or judicial sense. Easton says, A righteous person is one who has been declared by a judge to be free of guilt. 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 of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified.5 Grudem defines justification as an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christs righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.6 The prototypical verse used in the New Testament to explain justification is Romans 4:5: And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. While Martin Luther, the great Protestant Reformer, predicted that after his death the subject of justification would come under a Satanic attack, the subject of sanctification is also prone to great misunderstandings and errors.7 Some would say that the doctrine of sanctification is so entirely misunderstood that it has inhibited the faith of the believers perfect justification
3 4

J. Millard Erickson, Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1983, 968. Ibid, 968. 5 Matthew George Easton, Justification, in Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature, (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1897), WORDsearch CROSS ebook, 411. 6 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 723. 7 J. I Packer,. A Quest for Godliness: the Puritan Vision of the Christian Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994.149149.

and acceptance before God.8 This negative statement is not a disregard for the biblical doctrine of sanctification, but rather a correction to the means by which believers often pursue sanctification. Some of the interpretations of the nature of sanctification have resulted in justification becoming subordinate to sanctification. This inevitably leads to a greater focus on subjective piety and obedience over the objective, forensic nature of justification.9 In contrast, some theologians fear a weak understanding of sanctification, resulting in an antinomian basis for the Christian life.10 In order to avoid these apparent conflicts and misconstructions of justification, the author will seek to identify the primary Scriptures on each topic to show that there is not a disjunction between justification and sanctification. The objective is to see how God uses both justification and sanctification together to bring about His glory in the life of the believer.

The Classic Argument from Romans The book of Romans is often considered the most significant theological book in the New Testament. This book was also front and center in the Protestant Reformations apprehending of the Pauline understanding of justification and sanctification. Any effort to define and understand these terms should begin with a consultation of Romans. After Paul establishes that the whole world, Jew and Gentile alike, is guilty of sin before a holy God, he begins to offer Gods solution to mans depravity in Romans 4. The following verse is applicable to this study: What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about,
8

CH Mackintosh. A Voice from the Past: Journal of Grace Evangelical Society, JOTGES 05:2 (Autumn 1992): 46. 9 Ryan Glomsrud, , and Michael Scott. Horton. Justified: Essays on the Doctrine of Justification. Escondido, CA: Modern Reformation, 2011, 103. 10 Elmer Towns, Martin Luther on Sanctification: Bibliotheca Sacra, BSAC 126:502 (April 1969) 116.

but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. In this passage, Pauls objective is to show that justification is apart from works, heritage, or any other potential merit that man may possess. In order to bolster his case that no man can be justified according to the works of the law and, therefore, has no case for boasting in the flesh (3:27-28), Paul raises the strongest possible objection, Abraham. The Jewish interpretation of Abraham emphasized his works as the basis of his virtue and the premise for his pristine relationship to God.11 If there were anyone who could be justified by his pristine works, surely it would be Abraham! Paul shows that Abraham could not boast before God (v2) because no one can be justified by works. Citing Genesis 15:6, Paul reveals that Abraham believed God, and this alone was the basis for his righteousness (v4, Galatians 3). This becomes Pauls banner verse for the Gospel.12 An important word to be defined in this passage is reckoned. God reckoned to Abraham righteousness. One could interpret this to mean that God saw Abrahams faith as a righteous act and, therefore, was pleased with Abrahams faith. This, however, would debunk Pauls own argument. This is not the case, however. By comparing the grammatical structure of the words used in Romans 4:3 and Genesis 15:6, O.T. Robertson says, the reckoning of Abraham's faith as righteousness means to account to him a righteousness that does not

11

Douglas J. Moo, The New International Commentary on the New Testament The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 260. 12 Douglas J. Moo, The New International Commentary on the New Testament The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 260.

inherently belong to him.13 It is obvious that Paul distances himself from the dominant Jewish interpretation that Abrahams faith was a work of obedience, to which God owed him a reward.14 Pauls statement in Romans 4:4-5 is bold and clear: (1) works have no part in justification; and (2) this is so because God's justifying verdict is not earned, but given freely.15 If a person works for something, the wages he receives are not a gift but a reward for his labor. In contrast, the one who believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (v5). Therefore, God declares the ungodly to be righteous in his sight, not on the basis of their good works, but in response to their faith.16 Paul further illustrates the nature of justification and what it accomplishes by referencing Psalm 32:1-2. This speaks of the blessing of a man whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are cover, of whom the Lord will not count his sin. The legality of justification is seen in this reference. God declares the ungodly sinner to be righteous. The declaration is forensic, as a judge declaring someone not guilty. John Murray makes an important distinction between the legality of justification and the act regeneration: Regeneration is an act of God in us; justification is a judgment of God with respect to us. The distinction is like that of the distinction between the act of a surgeon and the act of a judge. The surgeon, when he removes an inward cancer, does something in us. That is not what a judge doeshe gives a verdict regarding our judicial status. If we are innocent he declares accordingly.17

13 14

OT Robertson, A Grammer of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research, (1934, Nashville, TN) Moxnes, Theology in Conflict, pp. 155-63; E. Ksemann, "The Faith of Abraham in Romans 4," Perspectives on Paul, p. 81Douglas J. Moo, The New International Commentary on the New Testament The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 262. 15 Douglas J. Moo, The New International Commentary on the New Testament The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 260. 16 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 723. 17 John, Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied. Grand Rapids Mich USA: Wm B Eerdmans Pub, 1978

Understanding justification is vital to maintaining the purity of the Gospel. If justification is wrongly defined or confused with other distinct doctrines, such as sanctification, then the door is opened for the Gospel to be perverted. Nevertheless, justification, the acquittal from the guilt of sin, and sanctification, the deliverance from sinning, should never be separated. If they are confused, then the nature of the Gospel is misunderstood. If they are separated, the work of the new covenant is not fully understood. The Westminster Larger Catechism puts it like this: Question: Wherein do justification and sanctification differ? Answer: Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued.18 Sanctification can also be defined as the continuing work of God in the life of the believer, making him or her actually holy. There is a vital connection between both justification and sanctification. Sanctification is a process by which ones moral actions are brought into conformity with ones legal status before God.19

Objection to Justification by Faith Alone #1: Roman Catholicism

The above statements are in accordance with the Protestantism and the heart of the Reformation. God declares the ungodly justified not on the basis of their actual condition or holiness but on the basis of Christs righteousness. Protestantism since the time of Martin Luther has held to the belief that justification is not an internal transformation (such as regeneration) nor

18

Douglas J. Moo, The New International Commentary on the New Testament The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 350. 19 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1983, 80.

is it an assertion God makes on the basis of any goodness within man.20 Such beliefs would destroy the confidence that those that are in Christ have peace with God (Romans 5:1), have no condemnation (Romans 8:1), have assurance of forgiveness, thus, can approach God with a true heart in full assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:22). The traditional Roman Catholic understanding of justification is drastically different than the aforementioned views. The Roman Catholic Church comprehends justification as something that changes us internally and makes us more holy.21 Speaking on his book entitled, Not by Faith Alone: A Biblical Study of the Catholic Doctrine of Justification, Dr. Robert Sungenis, a Catholic apologist and scholar, explains this difference: The Catholic Church does teach that works are salvific, that they do justify; but when they use works in that sense, they are talking about works that are done under the auspices of Gods grace---that is, someone who has already entered into Gods grace by faith, and God can now look on those works a lot differently than when the person was not under Gods grace.22 Sungenis, then, sees justification as a reward for an individuals good works, albeit those good works are done under a system of grace.23 That system of grace would be the teachings of the Catholic Church, the dogmatism of faith. According to the teachings of the Council of Trent, justification is the sanctifying and renewing of the inner man that is begun by the Sacrament of Baptism and continuing faith (confessional faith).24

20

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 723 21 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 723 22 Ryan Glomsrud, , and Michael Scott. Horton. Justified: Essays on the Doctrine of Justification. Escondido, CA: Modern Reformation, 2011, 58. 23 Ibid, 59. 24 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 723

For the one who comes from a Protestant background of faith, the Roman Catholic view of justification appears blurry and misguided. However, some of the views appear to be affable to Scripture. Sungenis remarks on the Council of Trent, saying, The first canon says that by no works of the law or any work done by man in his moral disposition can he attain justification. Justification is given by the grace of God. Faith is the root of all justification. Once you have faith---and the Roman Catholic Church says that is a gift of God as well---its not something that you alone generate by yourself; its you cooperating with God that allows you to have faith. That is, you have faith and works that are under Gods grace, and both of those are looked at by God as things that he requires you to do, and he blesses those. As long as you remain in the faith and keep doing the works, then you remain in justification.25 A casual reading of these Catholic views of justification may cause one to think that the difference between Protestants and Catholics is not as wide apart as first thought. Gerald O Collins defends the Catholic view of justification, saying, At an intellectual level, the Catholic tradition has, of course, profoundly accepted and maintained that no one can stand in the sight of God without blame (Romans 3:23). We cannot make ourselves sinless. It is God alone who justifies the sinner through the merits of Jesus Christ. At the same time, the tradition, in general affords the conviction that all was not lost by the sin of Adam and Eve. There was not an utter corruption of the human person, and although the image of God was severely occluded, it was not obliterated, and certainly was not replaced by the image of the devil, as Luther, perhaps in unguarded outburst, maintained.26 As OCollins reveals, the Roman Catholic position refutes the total depravity of mankind through sin, therefore, making it possible for an individual to fulfill the moral imperative to live a

25

Ryan Glomsrud, , and Michael Scott. Horton. Justified: Essays on the Doctrine of Justification. Escondido, CA: Modern Reformation, 2011, 59.
26

Beilby, James K., and Paul R. Eddy. Justification: Five Views. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011 267-268

righteous life in knowledge that Christ will judge all deeds, and is able to cooperate with Gods grace in salvation.27 Catholic thinking on justification can be seen as God giving to humanity the ability to perform the moral offices toward men which make up the task of the kingdom of heaven.28

Making a cavalier accusation against Roman Catholicism that they teach justification by works may be an immature rush to judgment. Catholic scholars will often cite Augustine, agreeing that human beings, post the fall of man, simply do not have the freedom to choose good and perform good actions. However, they also will plainly say that justification is a reward for merit, but that merit is itself a pure gift owing to the saving activity of Christ. Merit, therefore, is given to humanity and comes through grace.29 Catholic scholars will also quote Romans 4:5, agreeing that God justifies sinners. Their account of justification will, however, insist that dikaioo primarily means to make righteous interiorly, not the imputation or reckoning of righteousness.30 Furthermore, the Catholic position will interpret Romans 4:4-5 as saying that man cannot come to God and say, You own me for what I did. However, God does reward peoples works through gracious merit. For God not to reward works would be an act of injustice. (The reward, righteousness, is not an imputed righteousness but an infused righteousness. It is something that God puts inside of an individual that changes him internally.31 One could be empathetic to the Roman Catholic understanding of justification and sanctification when considering the importance of good works. The unbeliever isnt so interested

27 28 29 30

Ibid, 268. Albert Ritschel, The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation,( Edinburgh: TT Clark, 1900,) 35.

James K., Beilby, and Paul R. Eddy. Justification: Five Views. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011 , 269. Ibid, 283. 31 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 723

in a legal, forensic declaration as much as he is what one does. The popular statement, Dont tell me, show me comes to mind. Jesus said to the ancient audience, Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works (Matthew 5:14, 16). Surely Catholicism has been a source of many good works in multiple generations and societies. Nonetheless, the question is whether a concern for behavioral modification and renovation of society takes precedence over a divine verdict.

Objection to Faith Alone #2: The New Perspective on Paul

On the heels of the Roman Catholic position of justification is what has been called the new perspective on Paul or NPP. The consensus that emerged after the Reformation, that justification is by faith alone in Christi alone, came under fire in the early part of the twentieth century. Two men, George Foote Moore and Claude Montefiore, protested that Judaism was not legalistic, and that such a view was a distortion of Jewish documents.32 Drawing upon these scholarly protests, E.P Sanders wrote an influential book on Pauline studies entitled, Paul and Palestinian Judaism. In this book, Sanders concluded that the notion that Jews in Pauls day were legalists was a myth imposed by Christian scholars. The salvation described by Judaism was not legalistic at all, says Sanders, as they never understood obedience of the Law as a way to earning salvation.33 In review of the influence Sanders book had on Pauline scholarship, Thomas Schreiner says, Sanders book has changed the direction of Pauline studies, for he has convinced many scholars that the traditional picture of Judaism constructed by New Testament scholars
32

Claude G. Montefiore, Judaism and St. Paul (London: Max Goschen, 1914); George Foote Moore, Christian Writers on Judaism, Harvard Theological Review 14 (1921): 197-254 33 E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: a Comparison of Patterns of Religion. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977.

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does not accord with Palestinian Judaism as it really was.34 Sanders argues that the problem with the law is not that it is impossible to keep. Nor does Paul believe that adhering to the law led to legalism and works righteousness. The law is simply set-aside in the coming of Christ.35 Sanders work, along with the modern understanding that Christians have mistreated the Jews throughout history, gives rise to the question of whether Christianity, particularly the reformed position, has misunderstood Judaism as legalistic and consequently imposed wrong presuppositions on the Pauline letters, including the important book of Romans. Some would affirm that the Protestant desire to criticize Roman Catholicism resulted in the accusation that Judaism was a legalistic religion. In a recent article, Richard Neuhaus argued that justification by faith alone may have been necessary in the first century, but it is no longer a key issue in the twentieth century.36

Sanders influence in the New Paul Perspective gave rise to another popular scholar, NT Wright. A British New Testament scholar, NT Wright is the Anglican Bishop of Durham, England. He has built upon the new perspective position established by Sanders. He writes, The gospel itself refers to the proclamation that Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, is the one, true and only Lord of the world.37 He continues, The Gospel is not an account of how people get saved. Pauls gospel to the pagans was not a philosophy of life. Nor was it even a doctrine about how to get saved. It is the proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.38 Wright also says,

34

Thomas Schreiner, Was Luther Right? http://www.sbts.edu/documents/tschreiner/Luther_and_Law.pdf, (accessed December 7, 2011). 35 E. P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983. 36 Richard Neuhaus, How I Became a Catholic, http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/001-how-i-became-thecatholic-i-was-17, (accessed December 8, 2011). 37 NT Wright, Paul in Different Perspective: Lecture 1: Starting Points and open reflections. Accessed 5-11-07 at http:/ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Auburn_Paul.htm. 38 Nicholas T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997.

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Justification is not how someone becomes a Christian. It is the declaration that they have become a Christian. Justification in the first century was not about how someone might establish a relationship with God. It was about Gods eschatological definition.39

While some of NT Wrights statements seem startling, those defending the NPP say that proper understanding rests on the following four aspects: 1) The new perspective of Paul rises on the new perspective of Judaism. 2) The significance of Pauls mission is the context for his teaching on justification. 3) Why justification by faith in Christ Jesus and not the works of the Law? 4) The whole Gospel of Paul must be taken into account.40 Understanding of these aspects will reveal that the NPP does not believe that Paul was giving a polemic against the legalistic Jews who sought to earn their salvation and be justified by their works. He was, however, arguing that the Jews should not refute the Gentiles inclusion in the Kingdom of God on the basis on their nationalism and ethnicity (Ephesians 2:11-12). Pauls argument on justification by faith was a social issue with a social dimension.41

The NPP sees the historical interpretation of justification by faith as too narrow and failing to see the bigger picture. As referenced earlier , NT Wright says the Gospel is not an account of how people get saved. It is bigger than that. In his response to a critique by Minnesota pastor, John Piper, Wright says, We are not the center of the universe. God is not circling around us. We are circling around him. It may look from our point of view as though me and my salvation are the be all and end all of Christianity. But a full reading of Scripture tells a

39 40

Ibid, 125. James K., Beilby, and Paul R. Eddy. Justification: Five Views. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011, 177. 41 James K., Beilby, and Paul R. Eddy. Justification: Five Views. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011, 189.

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different story.42 One can infer that Wright sees the reformed position of justification as too narrow, exclusive, and individual. And like John Neuhaus, one may conclude that man has arrived upon a new day, a new horizon, and the quarrels over justification by faith should be left in the past.

42

N. T. Wright, Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009, 23.

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A Reply to the Roman Catholicism View of Justification It is commendable that within Roman Catholicisms view of justification there is a place in the doctrine for mans inability to make himself sinless as well as the mention that man needs Gods grace to perform any good works. Nevertheless, Roman Catholicism takes many severe diversions from the Scriptural definition of justification. It is the view of the author that these diversions are untenable to the integrity of Scripture and weaken the purity of the Gospel message. Firstly, as OCollins mentioned, Roman Catholicism purports that mankind can fulfill the moral imperative to live righteously.43 In addition, human beings can cooperate with the grace of God.44 The Roman Catholic teaching says that people are justified by Gods grace plus some merit of their own working. This merit makes people fit to receive the grace of justification. The Scriptures, in contrast, insist that justification comes by grace alone not by grace plus some merit on our part (Romans 3:20-24)45 It is also refuted that man has the ability to cooperate with God and somehow work with God in achieving his salvation. Cooperation with God would be difficult to achieve for someone who is dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). Scripture makes it clear that man is depraved, totally unable to choose what is good (Jeremiah 17:9, Titus 1:15, Romans 8:8). Secondly, the Council of Trent upholds the view that justification involves not only the remission of sins but also the sanctification of the individual.46This view subordinates justification to sanctification, therefore leading to the danger of one trying to work their way to acceptance with God. This leads to legalism and traditionalism, namely the traditions of the Catholic Church. As stated by the Catholic apologist

43 44

James K., Beilby, and Paul R. Eddy. Justification: Five Views. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011, 291. Ibid, 291. 45 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 730. 46 James K., Beilby, and Paul R. Eddy. Justification: Five Views. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011, 293.

Robert Sungenis, The Council of Trent says that at baptism, hope, faith, and love are infused into the sinner, and at that point in time, he has all three of those virtues. So its not by faith alone that hes justified; its by faith hope and love at the moment of baptism.47 Thirdly, the Catholic understanding of justification is alien to Pauls argument in Romans 4 because of a drastically different definition of grace. Grace to the Roman Catholic is an elevated principle that causes one to eventually ascend to justification. Thus, the opposite is also true, as one can have grace to ascend to be justified, one can descend and lose their justification through sinful actions.48 This idea of grace is alien to Scriptures teaching on grace, which authoritatively declares that it is Gods mercy and favor toward sinners in Jesus Christ. The ungodly are forgiven on the basis of Christ. This salvation is an eternal inheritance that inevitably leads the sinner to sanctification and glorification within the promise of perseverance (Hebrews 9:15). A Reply to the New Perspective of Paul View of Justification At the outset of this reply it is noted that the objections to the NPP will be brief in light of the extensive nature of this subject and its continuing debate in academic circles. It is also noted that some will contend that there are positives that have come out of the NPP, particularly Sanders accusation that Christian scholars interpreted historical Judaism in light of modern Judaism.49Furthermore, one can argue that scholars post-Holocaust are aware of historical accounts of Jews being persecuted in the name of Christianity. Luther also made statements against the Jews that cannot be defended.50 It is also commendable that NT Wright views redemptive-salvation history in a broader context than the individual salvation message so
47

, Ryan Glomsrud, and Michael Scott. Horton. Justified: Essays on the Doctrine of Justification. Escondido, CA: Modern Reformation, 2011, 62-63. 48 Ibid, 63. 49 DA Carson, The Domains Affected by the New Perspective of Paul. Lecture, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississpi, September 28, 2007 50 Thomas Schreiner, Was Luther Right? http://www.sbts.edu/documents/tschreiner/Luther_and_Law.pdf, (accessed December 7, 2011), 4.

imbedded in Western culture. In these regards, the NPP sheds light on some overlooked subjects. Nonetheless, the author argues that the basis of the NPP is flawed. Sanders maintains that Jews were not criticized for legalism at all.51 However, many texts throughout the New Testament Scriptures are a polemic against legalism within the system and heart of Judaism (Luke 18:9-14, Romans 3:27-4:5; 9:30-10:8; Galatians 3:1-14; Philippians 3:2-11).52 NT Wright contends that justification by faith is not an issue of individual salvation but an acknowledgement that Gods people belong to the covenant community. Not only is this a great diversion from 1500 years of historical theology which affirms the judicial, forensic nature of justification for the individual sinner, it also calls into question the essence of the Gospel. Piper says, The declaration of justification in the law court of God is not merely forgiveness; it is not merely the status of the acquitted; it is counting the defendant as morally righteous though in himself he is not.53 Considering that the opposite of justification is condemnation (also a judicial concept), justification cannot refer to a gradual transformation. It is a declaration that the demands of the law have been fully met.54 Both the Roman Catholic and New Perspective view of justification is a threat to the integrity of the Gospel. Both schools of thought, though containing some traces of truth, reinforce the errors already dealt with by the Reformation. Breeding a man-centered focus, these erroneous views of justification echo the words of Boniface in the middle ages: We never imagine that we are righteous enough, but we constantly plead with God to increase our merits.55
51 52

E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: a Comparison of Patterns of Religion. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977 Thomas Schreiner, Was Luther Right? http://www.sbts.edu/documents/tschreiner/Luther_and_Law.pdf, (accessed December 7, 2011), 8. 53 John. Piper, The Future of Justification: a Response to N. T. Wright. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2008, 78. 54 James K., Beilby, and Paul R. Eddy. Justification: Five Views. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011, 93. 55 Gregg R Allison,., and Wayne A. Grudem. Historical Theology: an Introduction to Christian Doctrine : a Companion to Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011., 505.

The Distinction and Union of Justification and Sanctification

As has been previously mentioned, it is vital to a proper understanding of the Gospel to keep justification and sanctification distinct. Some of the thoughts on justification from the Roman Catholic perspective fail to make this distinction. The result is a legalistic position that attempts to earn justification from God on the basis of merit. Sanctification is distinct from the act of justification, but it is not a disjunction. Although Paul said that the election of God stands not by works, he also had no hesitation in telling his readers, Present your bodies to God, a living sacrifice (Romans 9:11, 12:1). The church has historically affirmed that part of the believers experience of salvation is growing in Christian maturity56 Grudem defines sanctification as a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our Christian lives.57 While this is a standard definition accepted by most of Protestantism, there are a variety of approaches to sanctification among Christian circles. There are differences of opinion on the extent of Christian maturity and the exact means by which sanctification takes place in the life of a believer. What is certain, however, is the plethora of Scriptures that speak of sanctification in the life of the believer. Jesus commanded his followers to be perfect (Matthew 5:48). Peter urged believers to a life of holiness (1 Peter 1:13-16). Paul prayed for the church to be kept blameless at the coming of Christ (1 Thess 5:23). Peter spoke of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:2) while Paul spoke of good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). While these Scriptures speak of Gods role in the act of sanctification, many Scriptures unveil the responsibility of the believer. They are to yield to God (Romans 6:13), be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), mortify the flesh (Romans

56

Gregg R Allison,., and Wayne A. Grudem. Historical Theology: an Introduction to Christian Doctrine : a Companion to Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011 57 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994, 2000), 746.

8:13), pray (Ephesians 6:18), and confess sin (1 John 1:9). A prototypical verse that shows the joint effort of God and the believer in the process of sanctification is Philippians 2:12-13: My dear friends, as you have always obeyed..continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.58 The doctrine of sanctification, as understood by evangelicalism, has been deeply influenced by the teachings of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.59 John Wesley called it Christian perfectionism, perfect love (1 John 4:18)), entire sanctification, and full salvation. Later it came to be called the second blessing.60 Wesley believed it was possible for a Christian to reach a state of perfection, calling all Christians to strive for this perfect state. Later this second blessing was tied to Pentecost and, in some cases, associated with the baptism in the Holy Spirit.61 This teaching had great influence on Charles Finney, the Holiness movement, the Keswick movement, and, more recently, Dallas Theological Seminary.62 While each of these movements and their leaders viewed Wesleys interpretations slightly differently, there was the common belief that sanctification was distinct from justification, came through a second act of faith, and must be maintained moment by moment. It is admitted by some that each of these movements sincerely desired to generate pure Christian holiness, there is, however, question of whether Wesleys view on sanctification was biblically accurate.63 Combs says, This search (for sanctification) is inherently defective since it is based on an unbiblical disjunction between justification and sanctification. But justification and progressive
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Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994, 2000), 521. William W. Combs, The Disjunction Between Justification and Sanctification in Contemporary Evangelical Theology, Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, DBSJ 06:1 (Fall 2001), 19. 60 Ibid, 19. 61 Ibid, 20. 62 Ibid, 21-28 63 Ibid, 34.

sanctification cannot be divided such that a believer may have one without the other.64 The argument against Wesleys view of sanctification is that it leaves Christians despondent because they are constantly looking for something they can never find. Mackintosh says, They are seeking for a ground of peace in a sanctified nature instead of a perfect sacrifice---in a progressive work of holiness instead of in a finished work of atonement.65 Mackintosh basis his argument on 1 Corinthians 1:30 which says the believer is in Christ, who is made for them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Sanctification, therefore, is an immediate, complete, divine work. The practical results will continually be developing, but sanctification is done in a moment, that being the moment of salvation.66 Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, agrees, referring to G.C. Berkouwers book, Faith and Sanctification, in a class given at Reformed Theological Seminary: The historic Protestant doctrine is that we are not justified by faith rather than works, but we are also sanctified by faith rather than works. Yet, very few ministers know how Christs finished work is the dynamic and guide for growth into holy character. The ancient feud of Rome with the Sola Fida doctrine, based as it is on the view that Sola Fida is subversive to sanctification, must be called Romes fundamental error. It was no other than Sola Fida which made clear the true significance of sanctification, and distinguished it from all moralistic effort at self-improvement.67 Those who follow Wesleys view of sanctification teach, if not explicitly, that a believer is justified by faith in Christs work but sanctified by the laborious efforts to live according to Biblical principles (with the help of the Holy Spirit). Berkouwer disagrees, Holiness is never a

64 65

Ibid, 34. CH Mackintosh. A Voice from the Past: Journal of Grace Evangelical Society, JOTGES 05:2 (Autumn 1992): 48. 66 Ibid, 49. 67 Timothy Keller, Preaching in a Post-Modern Culture Lecture, Jackson, Mississipi, January, 2002, Itunes (Accessed December 5, 2011).

second blessing placed next to the blessing of sanctification. It is a mistake to ask, We know we have imputed righteousness, but now how to we move on to actual righteousness? We do not move on. Any particular flaw in our actual righteousness stems from a corresponding failure to orient ourselves toward imputed righteousness.68 This orientation towards imputed righteousness is explained by the word commerce. The believers constant commerce with forgiveness of sins and his continued dependence on it must be both in pastoral counseling and in teaching laid bare, emphasized, and kept in sight. Faith preserves us from autonomous selfsanctification and moralism.69 After Paul taught on justification in Romans, he continued with instructions on sanctification in Roman 6. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid (v1). Paul did not subvert justification to sanctification. Neither did he promote antinomianism. Sanctification is his defense against the charge that justification promoted unbridled sin. His argument teaches that sanctification is not automatic in the life of the believer, but it is inevitable.70 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (Romans 8:29-30). Conclusion The doctrines of justification and sanctification have been points of contention throughout church history. They have also been subjects that have promoted some of the greatest revivals and reformations in the world. There are many arguments and debates still going on

68 68 69

Gerrit C. Berkouwer, Faith and Sanctification. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1969, 84. Ibid, 84,93. 70 William W. Combs, The Disjunction Between Justification and Sanctification in Contemporary Evangelical Theology, Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, DBSJ 06:1 (Fall 2001), 19.

today concerning the proper meaning of these great doctrines. If history is cyclic, then we can also anticipate revivals where the gospel emerges from the confusion of religious pluralism. The early church and the early church fathers maintained the belief that justification is by faith in Christ alone. Likewise, as a man cannot justify himself, neither can he sanctify himself. God provides His Spirit, faith, His Word, and His Church to guide the believer in a process of holiness. With no eye toward self-salvation, the believer is now free to act in good works. Any other suggestion, even in the diminutive sense, that man has merit in his salvation renders the grace of God in the death and resurrection of Christ insignificant. The doctrine of justification undercuts the pride of man and all his systems of merit. This is the way it should remain.

Bibliography Allison, Gregg and Wayne A. Grudem. Historical Theology: an Introduction to Christian Doctrine : a Companion to Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Berkouwer, Gerrit C. Faith and Sanctification. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1969. Carson, DA The Domains Affected by the New Perspective of Paul. Lecture, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississpi, September 28, 2007. (Accessed December 10, 2011, Itunes) Combs, William W. The Disjunction Between Justification and Sanctification in Contemporary Evangelical Theology, Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, DBSJ 06:1 (Fall 2001). Erickson, J. Millard Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1983. George Easton, Matthew Justification, in Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature, (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1897), WORDsearch CROSS e-book Gerhard H. V Iisscher Romans 4 and the New Perspective on Paul Faith Embraces the Promise. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. Glomsrud, Ryan and Michael Scott. Horton. Justified: Essays on the Doctrine of Justification. Escondido, CA: Modern Reformation, 2011. Grudem, Wayne Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994, 2000). Horton, Michael Scott. Justified: Essays on the Doctrine of Justification. Escondido, CA: Modern Reformation, 2011. Keller, Timothy Preaching in a Post-Modern Culture Lecture, Jackson, Mississipi, January, 2002 Mackintosh. CH A Voice from the Past: Journal of Grace Evangelical Society, JOTGES 05:2 (Autumn 1992.) Montefiore, Claude G. Judaism and St. Paul (London: Max Goschen, 1914); George Foote Moore, Christian Writers on Judaism, Harvard Theological Review 14 (1921). Moo, J. Douglas The New International Commentary on the New Testament The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), WORDsearch CROSS e-book

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Murray, John, Redemption Accomplished and Applied. Grand Rapids Mich USA: Wm B Eerdmans Pub, 1978.

Neuhaus, Richard How I Became a Catholic, http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/001how-i-became-the-catholic-i-was-17, (accessed December 8, 2011). Packer, J. I. A Quest for Godliness: the Puritan Vision of the Christian Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.

Piper, John. The Future of Justification: a Response to N. T. Wright. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2008 Robertson, OT A Grammer of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research, (1934, Nashville, TN). Ritschel, Albert The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation,( Edinburgh: TT Clark, 1900. Sanders, E. P. Paul and Palestinian Judaism: a Comparison of Patterns of Religion. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977 Sanders, E. P. Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983. Schreiner, Thomas Was Luther Right? http://www.sbts.edu/documents/tschreiner/Luther_and_Law.pdf, (accessed December 7, 2011) Towns, Elmer. Martin Luther on Sanctification: Bibliotheca Sacra, BSAC 126:502 (April 1969)

Wright, N. T. Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009 Wright, NT Paul in Different Perspective: Lecture 1: Starting Points and open reflections. Accessed 5-11-07 at http:/ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Auburn_Paul.htm.

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