Tuesday, December 22, 2009

R.J. Rushdoony: Justification is not on account of faith as a pietistic work

R.J. Rushdoony affirms the reformational understanding of faith as taking hold upon Christ and His righteousness alone, not looking inwardly to itself as the meritorious cause for our pardon and acceptance before God:

Justification is often discussed after regeneration and conversion because the emphasis is on justification by faith. The convert’s awareness of justification and its meaning comes with faith, but it is a serious error to assume that it is on account of faith. Scripture never says that we are justified on account of faith, but only through or by faith. Faith acknowledges that it is Jesus Christ and His righteousness which alone redeems us, but that faith does not in itself justify us. The doctrine of justification by faith began as a rejection of humanistic salvation, by works, merit, knowledge, or anything in and of man. Unhappily, the term is now often popularly used to set forth the belief that it is man’s faith which releases God’s saving power and justification. The doctrine of justification by faith is thereby converted into exactly that which it originally sought to destroy. Instead of setting forth the Reformation doctrine, it now serves to undercut and destroy the Reformation. We are in process of a return to medieval pietism and its emphasis on feeling and experience, on man and his ‘works’ which includes man’s ‘faith’ in this non-Biblical sense. (R.J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, pp. 534-535)

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