Saturday, May 21, 2016

Eternal justification

A debate that sometimes crops up in Reformed circles is whether the elect are justified from eternity. That's not a yes or no question. Because justification involves a relation between a divine act and the resultant state, any answer is equivocal unless we distinguish both sides of the transaction.

In one respect, justification is a divine act. If God subsists outside of time, then justification is timeless or eternal in that regard.

Conversely, justification is the result of a divine act. When that takes effect is a separate question. A timeless divine act can be effected in time, at different times. 

So in another respect, justification is the state of being justified. Although God is timeless, humans are timebound. The elect are justified in time, and that's contingent on faith in Christ. God doesn't decree justification in isolation; rather, he decrees justifying faith in tandem with the decreed result.


  1. Steve what's your view on freemasonry?

  2. I love the following quote from A.W. Pink's book The Doctrine of Justification.

    Let it be said in conclusion that the justification of the Christian is complete the moment he truly believes in Christ, and hence there are no degrees in justification. The Apostle Paul was as truly a justified man at the hour of his conversion as he was at the close of his life. The feeblest babe in Christ is just as completely justified as is the most mature saint. Let theologians note the following distinctions. Christians were decretively justified from all eternity: efficaciously so when Christ rose again from the dead; actually so when they believed; sensibly so when the Spirit bestows joyous assurance; manifestly so when they tread the path of obedience; finally so at the Day of Judgment, when God shall sententiously, and in the presence of all created things, pronounce them so.- A.W. Pink, The Doctrine of Justification, chapter 10 [last paragraph]