Sunday, March 08, 2009

Lent 2 - Rom. 5


A brief word of disclaimer: In today's sermon I define and explain the term "justification" as meaning "made righteous," that is, declaring someone or something to be innocent because one actually is innocent. It is important to know that , according to the Bible, this innocence is not our own - it is not "impugned" as the papists teach, but is "imputed."

The reason I make this statement is because at various times, well-meaning Lutherans have taken issue with the phrase "made righteous" as a definition of justification because it can be unclear, perhaps allowing hearers to believe that this "being made righteous in Christ" is something completed by our works in the present - that the righteousness is and becomes our own. This is not what I am teaching, (as should be clear) nor do I believe it is the natural way to hear the words. But lest there be confusion about what we believe, teach and confess, I wanted to explain it.

Why didn't I just say that "justification" means "being declared righteous" and nothing more? Because that's not what the Bible teaches! When God declares something, it's not "as if" it were true. It's not that he said, "Let there be light," and it was "as if" there was light. It is not "as if" the forgiveness of sins washes your sins away, and only at the return of Christ are you actually sinless in God's sight. It is not "as if" the bread and wine are the body and blood of Jesus.

So also, Scripture is clear: you are in fact "justified," made righteous in God's sight, by grace, through faith, with an alien righteousness...a righteousness from outside your self: the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

I pray that my preaching of the wonderful Gospel is clear, but just in case, you now have my disclaimer. Pax Christi to you!

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