Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A.W. Pink: Deliverance from the penalty of sin has to do strictly with the legal side of salvation

We cannot do better here than quote these sublime lines of Augustus Toplady:

From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hast Thou, O Father, put to grief
Thy spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was laid on Thee?
If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my place endured
The whole of wrath Divine;
Payment God cannot twice demand
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid,
What e’er Thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood?
Turn, then, my soul, unto thy rest,
The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty.
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.

While deliverance from the love of sin has to do entirely with the experimental side of our salvation, remission of the penalty of sin concerns the legal aspect only, or in other words, the believer’s justification. Justification is a forensic term and has to do with the law-courts, for it is the decision or verdict of the judge. Justification is the opposite of condemnation. Condemnation means that a man has been charged with a crime, his guilt is established, and accordingly the law pronounces upon him sentence of punishment. On the contrary, justification means that the accused is found to be guiltless, the law has nothing against him, and therefore he is acquitted and exonerated, leaving the court without a stain upon his character. When we read in Scripture that believers are "justified from all things" (Acts 13:39), it signifies that their case has been tried in the high court of Heaven and that God, the Judge of all the earth, has acquitted them: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

But to be without condemnation is only the negative side: justification means to declare or pronounce righteous, up to the Law’s requirements. Justification implies that the Law has been fulfilled, obeyed, magnified, for nothing short of this would meet the just demands of God. Hence, as His people, fallen in Adam, were unable to measure up to the Divine standard, God appointed that His own Son should become incarnate, be the Surety of His people, and answer the demands of the Law in their stead. Here, then, is the sufficient answer which may be made to the two objections which unbelief is ready to raise: how can God acquit the guilty? How can He declare righteous one who is devoid of righteousness? Bring in the Lord Jesus Christ and all difficulty disappears. The guilt of our sins was imputed or legally transferred to Him, so that He suffered the full penalty of what was due them; the merits of His obedience are imputed or legally transferred to us, so that we stand before God in all the acceptableness of our Sponsor (Rom. 5:18, 19; 2 Cor. 5:21, etc.). Not only has the Law nothing against us, but we are entitled to its reward.

(A.W. Pink, A Fourfold Salvation)

Rom. 5:18, 19 -- "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [19] For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

2 Cor. 5:21 -- "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

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