Class 14 Outline

Class 14, Lesson 12

The Ground for Our Justification Outline

Belgic Confession XXIII


 The relationship between justification and the forgiveness of sins 

  • Those whom God embraces are made righteous through the forgiveness of sins
  • John Calvin – “The righteousness of faith is reconciliation with God, which consists solely in the forgiveness of sins.”
  • Isaiah 59:1-2, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
  • The wrath of God rests upon those God judges as sinners.
  • Sin separates man from God; he is an enemy of God
  • God saves – surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save
  • Man is God’s enemy until restored to grace through Christ (Rom 5:8-10)
  • Everyone God receives is justified, and everyone God justified is reconciled through the death of Christ
  • This work involves the “remission of sins”
  • 2 Cor 5:19 – “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting men’s trespasses against them, and God has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
  • Righteousness and reconciliation are reciprocally contained in the other
  • God justifies and reconciles us to Himself when He does not count our sins against us
  • God imputes righteousness to man apart from works
  • Romans 4:6-8, “Blessed is the man whom God credits righteousness apart from works. Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
  • Blessedness substituted for righteous
  • God forgives and covers our sin with the blood of Christ
  • Paul is not describing our sanctification but our justification – a one time, legal act
  • This declaration is based upon the work of Christ
  • Faith is the instrument for both the forgiveness of sins and our justification
  • Acts 13:38-39, “Through this man, forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and everyone that believes in him is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. Through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and everyone that believes in him is justified.”
  • We are justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ
  • John Calvin, “We are justified before God solely by the intercession of Christ’s righteousness. This is equivalent to saying that man is not righteous in himself but because the righteousness of Christ is communicated to him by imputation.”
  • 1 Cor 5:21, “He who knew no sin was made the atoning sacrifice of sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of Christ.”
  • We possess the righteousness of Christ through our legal union with Him
  • The righteousness of Christ satisfies the righteous demands of the law thus through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, the law is fully met in us
  • Romans 8:3-4, “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”
  • Just as Adam’s sin is imputed to his posterity, likewise the obedience of Christ is imputed to His posterity resulting in justification and eternal life
  • Romans 5:19, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
  • Illustration of Jacob concealed as the first-born compared with Adam’s attempt to cover himself


  • The application of this doctrine is a free conscience 
  • We rely and rest by faith solely upon the obedience of Christ crucified
  • We no longer have to live in fear, terror or dread
  • We will serve Christ out of gratitude and not fear
  • Heidelberg Q & A 60