Justification by Christ Alone
Believing sinners receive, enjoy and experience free justification before God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; but it is not our faith that justifies us. It is not our act of believing on the Son of God that justifies us before God. That would make our justification to be the result of a work performed by us. We were justified by the sacrificial, sin-atoning, justice satisfying death of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Substitute and covenant Surety.
When the Son of God cried, It is finished, he did not mean to say, It is almost finished, or It will be finished when those for whom I now die finish it. He meant, It is finished! When the Lord of Glory died, the sins of Gods elect, which were imputed to him were forever put away. Justice was fully satisfied. And all for whom that great work of redemption was done were then and there justified, -- Justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. He who was delivered to death because of our offenses, was raised again, being justified in the Spirit, because of our justification, that is to say, because our justification was accomplished.
Our experience of justification is the direct result of our believing the gospel. Our knowledge of our justification comes from believing the promise of God in the gospel, the promise of justification to every one who believes on the Son of God. He that believth on the Son of God is not condemned. Not only does the gospel promise the believing sinner that he shall not come into condemnation, it also promises eternal life.
We must understand this. Faith is vital to the saving of our souls, but faith is not our savior. We can no more be saved without faith than we can be saved without atonement; but faith is not our Savior. Christ alone is our Savior. He that believeth not the Son of God is condemned already. The wrath of God abideth upon him. He that believeth is not condemned. We must believe; but we must believe Christ. It is Christ, the Object of our faith, by whom we are justified and made righteous before God. Our faith is not our righteousness. Christ is.
Faith, we are told by God the Holy Spirit, is accounted to us for, that is, in order to righteousness (Rom. 4:5). But our faith is not accounted to us as righteousness. Do you see this clearly? Christ, the Object of our faith is made of God unto us Righteousness. We are made the righteousness of God in him, by the imputation of his righteousness to us (That great act of infinite wisdom and grace as well as of infinite holiness and justice!). Just as we receive and enjoy, experience and walk in the peace of Christs atonement by faith (Rom. 5:11), so we receive and enjoy free grace justification in Christ by faith. Yet, our faith can no more justify us than it can make atonement for our sins. We are justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. AMEN.