Monday, December 28, 2009

Gordon Clark: Justification is acquittal (pardon) and acceptance (active favor) before God

Gordon Clark explains that justification is more than pardon or acquittal; it involves acceptance or adoption by God, a declaration that we are not merely "innocent" but, indeed, "righteous" by the imputation of Christ's righteousness through faith:

It has been necessary to insist that justification is a judicial act of acquittal, for only so can salvation be by grace. However, the ordinary idea of acquittal does not exhaust the Biblical concept of justification. Section I also says that God pardons the sins of those who are justified and accepts their persons as righteous. Perhaps the idea of pardon needs no explanation, for its meaning is easily understood; but the idea of acceptance needs to be distinguished from both pardon and acquittal. The governor of a state may pardon a convicted official without restoring him to favor and to his previous office. Appointments to office, if honest, would depend on the future conduct of the pardoned man. But it is otherwise with Biblical justification; for if favor with God depended on our future conduct, eventual salvation would be based on our works—clearly contrary to Scripture—and we could never have an assurance of success. When our position depends on Christ’s merits instead of our own, we need have no fear. [Gordon Clark, What Do Presbyterians Believe? The Westminster Confession Yesterday and Today (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1965), 124-125; quoted by Brian Schwertley in his refutation of the Auburn Avenue theology]

1 comment:

  1. It is sad to observe how Clark has such a poor view of God. What is the point of Clark's view of God for God to send Christ as a propitiation? Why could he simply not FORGIVE without an atonement if the result is the same? In otherwords, on the ground of once saved always saved, future obedience is no longer required. So why is past obedience required? There's no difference. It's too bad that Clark's god at one time was 'just' when he doesn't really require obedience anyway. This god requires appeasing, so it proves he has no forgiveness. It is a changeable god who requires obedience at one point and then changes his mind. If he even has a mind. Who knows with Clark.