Justification is always the issue… Preaching

I know we have kind of beaten the horse a bit with this issue, but I don’t ever get bored with this.  Justification is always the issue.  So in this article, I would like to talk about how Objective Justification is expressed simply in the proclamation of the Gospel.

What we know about the Bible is that it all centers around Christ, who He is, and what He did.  So practically, all teachings of Scripture tumble down if the Bible’s message about Christ’s reconciliation of the world to God and His justification for all people is not true.

For one, how can a pastor forgive sins in Christ’s stead and pronounce with certainty the grace of God upon a sinner if he cannot see the sinner’s faith?  If the pastor says to a sinner who inwardly does not have faith “I forgive you your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” does the pastor as a result lie or say something untrue?  Of course not!  If that were the case, then God would be a liar.  Sure, the sinner does not personally receive by faith the forgiveness and will be ripe for destruction if he continues in his unbelief, but that does not make God a liar.  Rather, it makes the unbeliever the liar. (Rom 3:3ff)  If the pastor says to someone, “This promise is for you,” but he doesn’t believe, will the pastor then say, “Well, I guess it wasn’t for you!”?  Of course not!  This article of faith is not merely theological handy work; it is not merely unneeded elaboration.  It is the very heart of the Gospel that Jesus mandated to be preached to all nations.

 

 

Here is what the Old Norwegian Lutheran Synod president Herman Amberg Preus (1874) had to say on this topic when a seminary professor was denying this teaching of Objective Justification:

 

 

According to his new gospel the professor must preach that through his suffering and death Christ has only accomplished so much that God has now become willing to let his wrath cease and to be reconciled and to loose, confer grace, forgive, justify and open access to salvation, but that in actuality he can only do and does all this if man on his part fulfills the condition placed on him by God, namely that he is supposed to believe. And the thing which is thus supposed to be believed does not become this that God already has done this and is reconciled but that God will do it and will be reconciled when he sees the obedience and the good quality in man, that he believes.

This whole issue comes down to the preaching of the Gospel, that is, the preaching of the vicarious atonement for us, the objective redemption for us.  This objective reality is proclaimed to us personally.  Objective justification fills the Word with the assuring proclamation: “This redemption, this reconciliation, this justification, this forgiveness is for you; Christ is your righteousness.”

At the end  of his Pentecost sermon from Acts 2, Peter says, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)  Then Peter proclaims to them that this promise is “for you and your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” (Acts 2:39)  Notice how Peter first calls them to repentance; he then immediately presents them with the gift of baptism and the Holy Spirit; then he says who this promise is for.  The promise is for everyone, but Peter does not start with that.  Rather, he first says, “This promise is for you and your children.”  This is the implication of Objective Justification, namely a personal proclamation: “for you.”  Preaching Objective Justification is not merely preaching the fact that Jesus died for the sins of all and rose again for the justification of all, then letting the people connect the dots.  It is more direct than that.

 

God justified me.  He justified me by faith on account of the justification already won for me by Christ (this is what propter Christum per fidem means), offered to me, given to me, and, inseparable from His Word, delivered to me personally by the Gospel for faith and through faith. (Rom 1:16-17)  Adolf Koeberle makes this point that Paul saw no separation of God’s act of redemption and his mission to proclaim it.  This is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 :

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’

Paul received it to deliver it and proclaim it “for you.”  Again, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5 that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and has given to us the Word of reconciliation.”  God’s act of reconciling the world to Himself in Christ and His giving of the Word are perfectly united.  Paul continues by uniting the office of the ministry to this Word of reconciliation.  The office of the ministry cannot possibly be separated from the universal reconciliation that God accomplished for us in Christ.  The primary task of the office of the ministry is to personally proclaim to people Objective Justification.  And how is this done?  It is done by preaching Christ for us.

Objective Justification teaches not only who justifies but whom He justifies.  For the sake of Christ’s obedient suffering and death, God justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5).  Objective Justification teaches to whom God gives this promise.  As His Word proclaims, it is for all.  Those who have faith receive it and are saved.  Those who do not believe are condemned, and the wrath of God remains on them.

Justification is always the issue in preaching, because that is what Christ has commanded His pastors to preach.  When the pastor preaches that “Christ died for your sins, and He rose again for your justification,” he is preaching Objective Justification; he is preaching the Gospel.  May we always remember the power of God’s Word, and from where this message gets its efficacy, namely the Vicarious Atonement.  May we always take comfort in the certainty of the promise.  We can have certainty in it; the Resurrection proves it!

 

About Pastor Andrew Preus

Pastor Andrew Preus is the pastor of Trinity Lutheran/St. Paul Lutheran, Guttenberg/McGregor, IA. He is the eighth of eleven sons, with one sister. He received his seminary training at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, ON (MDiv) from 2009 to 2013, and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN (STM) from 2013 to 2014. His main theological interests include Justification and Church and Ministry. He is married to Leah Preus (nee Fehr), and they have four children: Jacob, Solveig, Kristiana, and Robert.

Comments

Justification is always the issue… Preaching — 179 Comments

  1. @Rev. James Schulz #48

    Pr. Schultz,

    I see where you are coming from and I think we may be using the terms “objective” and “subjective” differently. In the 1983 CTCR document, Theses on Justification, “objective” refers to “to the great sin-cancelling, atoning work of the Redeemer as the “objective” or “universal” justification of the whole sinful human race. (John 1:29; Rom. 5:6-18; 2 Cor. 5:19; Col 2:14-15; 1 Tim. 3:16; Ap IV, 103-105; LC V, 31, 32, 36, 37; FC SD III, 57)” (ibid. p. 4). That is, “objective” refers to “the forgiveness of sins both as it has been acquired for the entire human race by Christ’s work of obedience in its stead and declared by His resurrection, and as it is seriously and efficaciously offered to all in the means of grace” (ibid.).

    The term “subjective” refers to “justification of the individual sinner through faith (Rom. 4:5, 5:1, etc.; AC IV, 3; FC SD III, 25)” (ibid).

    Of course, justification is “objective” through and through in the sense that it comes from God, it is real, and it isn’t contingent upon any quality in me, or upon any work I do. But, that is not the only thing being said by “objective justification” as you can see from the above CTCR document. “Objective” refers to the work of Christ for the whole world (hence, universal) and “subjective” refers to the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the individual (hence, particular).

    When I read, or hear, someone objecting to the term “objective justification” I am given the impression that they reject the truth of the Scriptures that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven in Christ. I think that is the big issue.

  2. Rev. James Schulz :
    I believe it has been said that the terms “Objective Justification” and “Subjective Justification” were coined and are necessary because it is too confusing to say “Justification is by grace alone, faith alone, and Word alone” (imagine that!?!). I beg to differ.

    Where has that been said, Pr. Schulz? Can you provide a citation?

  3. @Jim Pierce #51
    “…the truth of the Scriptures that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven in Christ. I think that is the big issue.”

    Mr. Pierce, the caveat is Scripture does not speak this way. If this were so, those who reject Christ would not die in their sins since as you say they are already forgiven.

  4. @Rev. James Schulz #48
    Pastor Schulz,
    I brought in Subjective Justification to demonstrate that there are not two justifications, but one justification. I wholeheartedly agree that if we only talk about OJ and avoid faith, we will distort the Gospel. And this is also because the fact that we are justified by faith alone proves OJ. Romans 4:5 say that “he who does not work but trusts in Him WHO JUSTIFIES THE UNGODLY, that faith is counted to him as righteousness.” God justifies the ungodly; that’s OJ. He who trusts in Him receives that justification; that’s SJ. But there is one justification. Since faith is passive, Justification by faith proves that it is fully by grace, and it was always by grace. (Rom 4:16)

    OJ does not mean that all are righteous, but that righteousness is given to all for Christ’s sake; this is universal grace. But the gift of grace must be delivered through the means of grace.

    Let me ask ya’ll three questions: 1) Does the resurrection prove that God accepted the dept Jesus payed to Him, the debt He payed for the sins of all? 2) Since Jesus died for all, does that then mean that He rose for all? 3) Since Jesus died for the sins of all, did He rise for the justification of all?

    Thanks

  5. @Joe Krohn #53

    Mr. Krohn,

    You are raising the same, tired, red herring from those of the Jackson sect. Nobody who accepts the Scriptural truth that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven in Christ teaches that those “who reject Christ would not die in their sins.” What you are implying is simply false and shows a grave misunderstanding both of the forensic nature of justification and the atonement.

    What is more, is that the Scriptures do speak that way. Please see the Scripture references in my response to Pr. Schulz. And, this isn’t the first time we have been through this. You have been given Scriptures by several here at BJS, Mr. Krohn. You refuse to accept them.

  6. Joe Krohn :
    @Jim Pierce #51
    “…the truth of the Scriptures that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven in Christ. I think that is the big issue.”
    Mr. Pierce, the caveat is Scripture does not speak this way. If this were so, those who reject Christ would not die in their sins since as you say they are already forgiven.

    Yes, the Scriptures do speak this way. God did not count their trespasses against them. The antecedent of “their trespasses” is “the world.” The fact that Paul was dealing with division among the Corinthians does not prove at all that the words don’t mean what they say.

    If a man owes his master a trillion dollars, and someone else pays the debt for the man, the debt must be accepted by the master before the man’s debt is forgiven. If the man’s debt is not forgiven, then the master did not accept the the payment for his debt yet.

    You wrote earlier (comment 40) that “not counting their trespasses against them” refers only to those who are in Christ and are a new creation. You claim that because, in the context, Paul is talking about mutual reconciliation among the Corinthians. You also write: “Furthermore in verse 21, Paul makes it clear that God’s righteousness (and reconciliation) is not a slam dunk. Why? Because it comes through faith.”

    God’s reconciliation is not a slam dunk?

    Does the death and resurrection of Christ secure forgiveness of sins for us, or does faith finally do this? If it is the latter, then is forgiveness secured for us in heaven?

  7. @Andrew Preus #54
    God justifying the ungodly without faith goes against Proverbs 17:15. It is us, the believers, who were formerly ungodly that He has justified through faith. That is what Romans 4:5 says. All of Romans 4 and 5 are in the context of faith and show the forensic nature of justification.

  8. @Joe Krohn #58

    You mean the sacrifice that was made annually for the forgiveness of all the sins of the whole of Israel whether a particular Jew believed in the efficacy of the sacrifice or not? Sounds much like OJ, doesn’t it?

    Can you explain to me how sins are atoned for (paid for) and yet not forgiven?

    And, to be clear, I am not equating the two, as you claim.

  9. @Joe Krohn #60

    Romans 4:5 is a “both/and,” Mr. Krohn. It isn’t an “either/or.” So, the Scripture affirms the truth of both OJ and SJ, i.e. justification. IOW, you are implying that there are TWO justifications being taught by the adherents of the OJ/SJ terminology and that simply is not true. There is only one justification… e.g. describing two facets on a single diamond doesn’t mean there are two diamonds.

  10. @Jim Pierce #51

    Re: “When I read, or hear, someone objecting to the term “objective justification” I am given the impression that they reject the truth of the Scriptures that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven in Christ. I think that is the big issue.”

    I do not reject that truth. The key is sins forgiven “in Christ.” Remember how Luther put it as “forgiveness achieved” on the cross, but not distributed there.

    @Jim Pierce #52

    Re: Where has that been said, Pr. Schulz? Can you provide a citation?

    I’m generalizing. I won’t say you are teaching universalism by the category “Objective Justification” if you don’t say I’m teaching synergism by the category “Justification by faith.” What I’m getting at is that it is too easy to read into terms and categories something that is not intended. So as cited above by Chemnitz and Buchholz, caution and precision is called for.

    @Andrew Preus #54

    Re: “Let me ask ya’ll three questions: 1) Does the resurrection prove that God accepted the dept Jesus payed to Him, the debt He payed for the sins of all? 2) Since Jesus died for all, does that then mean that He rose for all? 3) Since Jesus died for the sins of all, did He rise for the justification of all?”

    1) I can work with that.
    2) Yes.
    3) Yes, in that the message of “not guilty through Christ” is ringing through the ages via Word and Sacrament, creating faith in the elect whereby:

    “…the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, whence we receive and have forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life.” (SD III:25).

    Are we still talking past each other?

  11. @Rev. James Schulz #62
    “Are we still talking past each other?”
    I think we are understanding each other a lot more. I am happy about that. One thing I would point out, however, is that faith is not only created in the elect. I’m sure you agree with that; you were just making the point that the righteousness of Christ is not imputed apart from faith. I agree completely.

    I think the whole point is that what God accomplished in Christ is not merely a possibility before faith, but was secured fully in Christ’s death and resurrection by which God passed over former sins (Rom 3:25), and thus the reconciliation which happened 2,000 years ago is not a different reconciliation than that which we receive in faith (As you can see when you look at Rom 3:25, that justification received by faith is the same justification by which God passed over former sins). This is another reason why the Word is so important, and that Huber’s position is very dangerous and false. The acquisition and application of forgiveness are distinct, but they are not separated. Huber took the application away from the Word, thus turning the means of grace into mere reminders.

    The very fact that justification takes place extra nos shows that the application of the righteousness of God is the basis for the acquisition.

    Quenstedt makes the point, arguing against the Socinians, that the death of Christ was not merely preparatory for what would happen in Heaven. (Systema, Par. III, C. III, S. II, q. 5, Dist. 4)

  12. Rev. James Schulz :
    @Jim Pierce #51
    Re: “When I read, or hear, someone objecting to the term “objective justification” I am given the impression that they reject the truth of the Scriptures that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven in Christ. I think that is the big issue.”
    I do not reject that truth. The key is sins forgiven “in Christ.” Remember how Luther put it as “forgiveness achieved” on the cross, but not distributed there.

    Agreed.

    Rev. James Schulz :@Jim Pierce #52
    Re: Where has that been said, Pr. Schulz? Can you provide a citation?
    I’m generalizing. I won’t say you are teaching universalism by the category “Objective Justification” if you don’t say I’m teaching synergism by the category “Justification by faith.” What I’m getting at is that it is too easy to read into terms and categories something that is not intended. So as cited above by Chemnitz and Buchholz, caution and precision is called for.

    I think it bears pointing out that we must use both caution and precision when choosing our words to express any Scriptural truths, period.

    What I am concerned with, Pr. Schulz, is that I have encountered similar calls to abandoning perfectly good theological terms in the past and in every case the person asking for the terms to be rejected also rejects the doctrine, in whole or in part, behind the terms.

    I am not going to abandon using these terms since they teach truths fundamental to our faith. Indeed, justification by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Christ, is the chief article of the Christian faith. If we can express these truths clearly using precise terms, then I want to use those words.

  13. Andrew Preus said, “The acquisition and application of forgiveness are distinct, but they are not separated. Huber took the application away from the Word, thus turning the means of grace into mere reminders.”

    Exactly. I think it was mentioned in a past discussion on BJS regarding justification that some people today, because of the OJ/SJ terminology, think that the means of grace are a remembrance. I think it was stated that this is the case primarily in the WELS.

    Also, I’ve heard it stated that OJ and SJ are like a top (those things that spin around perfectly if they’re in harmonious balance. They topple if they aren’t in perfect balance).

    With that analogy, in the WELS at least, from what I hear, OJ is over emphasized so much that the top spins out of control to the point of the means of grace being a remembrance and it being semi-universalism or decision theology. This has been some folks experience in the WELS and I wouldn’t be surprised if it occurs in the LCMS. I think that’s where Rev. Schulz is coming from. The innovation of the terminology has had more negative affects than positive ones. If the entire Church Catholic didn’t have to use those terms for centuries on end, why can’t we? After all, there’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and in my uneducated opinion that means heresies too. I think it’s pretty safe to not use those terms in the future, for any synod, as to not create confusion for pastors and laymen alike.

  14. @Joe Krohn #73

    Mr. Krohn,

    I provide a definition for “objective” above. Here it is again… Objective justification refers “to the great sin-cancelling, atoning work of the Redeemer as the “objective” or “universal” justification of the whole sinful human race. (John 1:29; Rom. 5:6-18; 2 Cor. 5:19; Col 2:14-15; 1 Tim. 3:16; Ap IV, 103-105; LC V, 31, 32, 36, 37; FC SD III, 57)” (ibid. p. 4).

    That is, “objective” refers to “the forgiveness of sins both as it has been acquired for the entire human race by Christ’s work of obedience in its stead and declared by His resurrection, and as it is seriously and efficaciously offered to all in the means of grace”

    So, when it is said the sins of the atheist are forgiven, we are not saying that the atheist has received the forgiveness of sins.

    Mr. Krohn, I have answered your questions. Will you now answer mine? Can you explain to me how sins are atoned for (paid for) and yet not forgiven?

  15. Hate to butt in, but I have a question.

    The following:

    “That is, ‘objective’ refers to ‘the forgiveness of sins both as it has been acquired for the entire human race by Christ’s work of obedience in its stead and declared by His resurrection, and as it is seriously and efficaciously offered to all in the means of grace'”

    seems to be a contradiction of this: “So, when it is said the sins of the atheist are forgiven, we are not saying that the atheist has received the forgiveness of sins.”

    To me, either he is forgiven or not! This is where I think the confusion comes in. To me, at least, to say that his sins are forgiven is the same thing as saying his sins are subjectively forgiven (because, essentially, they are the same thing, i.e. either your sins are forgiven or they’re not). If it read: “So, when it is said the sins of the atheist [are paid for], we are not saying that the atheist has received the forgiveness of sins” I can agree with that. Just because it’s paid for doesn’t mean he’s received that payment through faith. If it’s said that he is forgiven then that means he is forgiven — plain and simple. Maybe I’m confused, but maybe this is why the Scriptures, early Church Fathers, and Concordists always spoke about being forgiven in an exclusively subjective way. See how EASILY the OJ/SJ terminology can be skewed to a “being forgiven (subjectively) without faith”?

  16. @Joe Krohn #73

    @Larry Tate #75

    Objective Justification not only includes the acquisition of forgiveness won in the Atonement and the declaration in the resurrection, but also the offering of it in the means of grace. Even though I posted this under an earlier article, I will say it again. Here is what Luther says regarding the Keys:

    “Even he who does not believe that he is free and his sins forgiven shall also learn, in due time, how assuredly his sins were forgiven, even though he did not believe it… He who does not accept what the keys give receives, of course, nothing. But that is not the key’s fault. Many do not believe the gospel, but this does not mean that the gospel is not true or effective. A king gives you a castle. If you do not accept it, then it is not the king’s fault, nor is he guilty of a lie. But you have deceived yourself and the fault is yours. The king certainly gave it.” (LW 40, 366ff)

    Mr. Tate, you say: “To me, either he is forgiven or not!” The issue comes down to the efficacy of the Word of God. The lack of faith of the atheist does not nullify the efficacy of God’s Word.

    In the TULIP of the Synod of Dorte, we reject the “I” (irresistible grace). Grace is resistible, but it is still grace.

  17. I would like to ask the exact same question that Mr. Pierce asks: “Can you explain to me how sins are atoned for (paid for) and yet not forgiven?”

    I also have another question: Did Jesus take our sins away on the cross, and did God consent to this in the resurrection?

  18. @Larry Tate #75

    Mr. Tate,

    I see that Mr. Preus has given you a great answer. I think the quote from Luther he provides fully answers your point over contradiction. There is no contradiction. Often times, as debates like this progress, an apt example of a rich man offering a poor man a cashiers check for a million dollars illustrates the point I made. In the analogy, the poor man rejects the cashiers check, because he doesn’t believe that it is a real cashiers check and certainly can’t be one for a million dollars! Yet, the check is as good as cash and has the poor man’s name right on it. The money is the poor man’s, but he refuses to receive the check. Because of his unbelief the poor man will not be a millionaire.

    With the example of the atheist, a confusion over what counts as “subjective” and “objective” has been uncovered. The “objective” aspect of Justification means that the forgiveness of sins is an accomplished fact. The sins of the whole world (past, present, and future) were laid upon Christ, punished in Him, and He did rise from the dead for the justification of all. It is what Christ has done that makes the “check” real. What Christ has done is “money in the bank” for the whole world whether it is received or not.

    Finally, it is not at all the case that the Lutheran confessors “spoke about being forgiven in an exclusively subjective way.” Mr. Preus’ citation from Luther shows that is not the case. You can also read Chemnitz on justification in his Examination on the Council of Trent where he clearly expresses the objective nature of justification. Finally, we can see this same objective conception of justification expressed in the Formula of Concord. Please see my post (#51) above for the citations to the Book of Concord dealing with the objective nature of justification.

  19. @Jim Pierce #78
    I think the weakness of your analogy, Jim, is that he check “has the poor man’s name right on it” as though the money is “his,” something he “owns,” “has,” and “benefits” from even though he doesn’t know it or believe it.

    Justification is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The righteousness remains Christ’s, I only benefit from it when it is imputed to me by faith. I believe Luther also illustrated the gifts of God as a King’s storeroom of treasure open to all. It remains the King’s treasures, and he offers it to all, but it benefits no one unless they receive it, which is of course, by faith, which is of course one of the treasures of the King given to those who who hear the treasure of the gospel promise.

    Lord Jesus,
    You are my righteousness,
    I am your sin.

    You took on you what was mine;
    yet set on me what was yours.

    You became what you were not,
    that I might become what I was not.

    – Martin Luther

  20. @Andrew Preus #77

    @Jim Pierce #74

    You have to realize there is great danger in teaching justification this way; that it is just an eyelash from universalism; forgiveness before the Means of Grace in Word and Sacrament. To say that the atheist’s sins are forgiven is subjective. I won’t budge on that opinion. I also believe the much used Luther quote that you provided in defense of your position is also in the context of faith. I would have to look more. Maybe someone can help me out.

    Here is the difference between atonement and justification as I believe scripture speaks (and the way I was catechised):

    Atonement=expiation of sin (forgiveness won); Justification=Receipt of Christ’s righteousness through faith (forgiveness distributed)

    I think I have said all I can say and will probably excuse myself from the discussion at this point.

  21. @Rev. James Schulz #79

    Pr. Schulz,

    Yes, the analogy has several weaknesses, but the point shouldn’t be missed that the forgiveness of sins is an objective reality and not a mere potentiality.

    In the analogy, the poor man does not benefit one wit from the objective reality that there is a million dollars given to him. Why doesn’t he benefit, Pr. Schulz? As I clearly stated in the story, he doesn’t benefit because of unbelief. He rejects the gift extended to him.

    Let me ask you, Pr. Schultz. Is the gospel a real gift for each and every ungodly person in the world?

  22. @Jim Pierce #81

    Let me ask you, Pr. Schultz. Is the gospel a real gift for each and every ungodly person in the world?

    THIS IS MOST CERTAINLY TRUE!

    Gospel = “The promise of God fulfilled in our midst.” I believe that was Luther’s definition.

  23. @Joe Krohn #80

    No, Mr. Krohn. You are absolutely wrong in the statement that what is being stated about justification with the terms OJ/SJ is “just an eyelash from universalism.” The reason for emphasizing the objective nature of justification is to combat heretical views such as the one Osiander fell into where he came to believe that the individual was justified because Christ dwelt in him. Osiander fell into error because he rejected the objective conception of justification. Furthermore, the Roman Catholics also teach falsely on this topic, because they, too, reject the objective nature of justification. Trent condemns the view that justification is extra nos.

    Finally, the heretical teaching of universalism, Mr. Krohn, teaches that ultimately ALL of humankind will be saved regardless of their disposition. In this false view, the atheist will be saved even though he rejects God. What is being stated here about justification, and in particular the objective aspect of it, is FAR FAR FAR from Universalism, Mr. Krohn.

  24. @Rev. James Schulz #85

    I believe what is being described with the analogy is the objective nature of justification, Pr. Schulz. But, like I stated earlier, the analogy (which I can’t take credit for since it was used by others before me) does have its weaknesses.

  25. @Rev. James Schulz #85
    The only reason why we distinguish between atonement and justification is that the atonement was the satisfaction to God for our sins, while justification is God’s response to that atonement. And how did God respond? He rose Jesus from the dead. Romans 4:25: “He was given up for our sins (atonement), and rose again for our justification.”

  26. I am adding the following quote from Pr. Kurt Marquart for further clarification of my earlier comment regarding the objective nature of justification.

    “Apology IV explains, repeatedly, that “when a man believes that his sins are forgiven because of Christ and that God is reconciled and favorably disposed to him because of Christ, this personal faith [fides specialis] obtains the forgiveness of sins and justifies us” (45, compare 48, 56, 62, 82, 103, 178, 195, 279, 299 [garbled in Tappert, p. 153], 345, 379, 381, 382, 386, and XII, 45, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63-65, 74, 76, 88, and XIII, 21).

    The pattern is clear and consistent throughout: the Gospel or absolution offers not a conditional, future prospect, but a perfected, past and present reality. God already is gracious, merciful, propitious, reconciled in Christ, and freely offers this ready forgiveness or grace in the Gospel. To believe this Gospel or absolution is to believe oneself forgiven, justified, accepted.

    Forgiveness exists “objectively” already before faith. Faith does not create forgiveness but only receives, accepts, appropriates it. Absolution is prior to, and creates faith, not vice versa (Augsburg Confession XII, 5; Apology XII, 42). The Gospel “offers forgiveness and justification, which are received by faith” (Apology IV, 62). And: “forgiveness of sins is the same as justification” (IV, 76).” (on-line source)

    Chemnitz, in Art. VII starting on page 497 of volume one of his Examination of the Council of Trent writes, “However, the Gospel reveals and declares this mystery which was hidden for long ages, that since the human race could not make satisfaction to the Law and the Law could in no way be dissolved and destroyed, God made a transfer of the Law to another person (a matter which belongs to the article of justification) who should fulfill the Law both by satisfaction and obedience for the whole human race. And because that person is both God and man, therefore His satisfaction is the expiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), and hence Christ is the end of the Law for the salvation of everyone who believe (Rom. 10:4)” (ibid. p. 499 emphasis mine).

    Chemnitz recognizes that Christ’s vicarious satisfaction of the sins of the whole world is “a matter which belongs to the article of justification.”

  27. @Jim Pierce #83

    Mr. Pierce, To continue to say that the atheist’s sins are forgiven prior to faith will only lead to a further rationalization that if his sins are forgiven, then he must be saved. The truth of the matter is Christ bore that atheist’s sin and paid for it and earned the atheist’s salvation for him. It is Christ’s prerogative (election) to distribute that salvation when and where He pleases. Until that atheist is convicted by the Holy Ghost, brought to repentance and justified, he remains in his sins and unforgiven.

  28. Joe Krohn :
    @Jim Pierce #83
    Mr. Pierce, To continue to say that the atheist’s sins are forgiven prior to faith will only lead to a further rationalization that if his sins are forgiven, then he must be saved.

    Mr. Krohn,

    I reject your slippery slope. Edit: Let me also add that we have been through this many times over. It is simply dishonest of you to ignore where I, and others defending OJ, have repeatedly stated that God uses His means of grace to distribute the forgiveness of sins to individuals and if an individual rejects the gift of God through unbelief, then sadly the person is condemned.

    Joe Krohn :
    The truth of the matter is Christ bore that atheist’s sin and paid for it and earned the atheist’s salvation for him. It is Christ’s prerogative (election) to distribute that salvation when and where He pleases. Until that atheist is convicted by the Holy Ghost, brought to repentance and justified, he remains in his sins and unforgiven.

    You still haven’t answered my question, Mr. Krohn. Can you explain to me how sins are atoned for (paid for) and yet not forgiven?

  29. @Andrew Preus #90
    I did not say so about the slam dunk…God’s Word does in 2 Cor. 5:21 as I provided earlier.

    No, God has secured forgiveness for us through the active obedience of His Son.

    @Jim Pierce #91
    Mr. Pierce, I may not have answered your question with the answer you wanted, but I have answered your question. Atonement does not equal justification. God has given His Son as a coupon (redeemer) to the world to be redeemed for salvation (by faith). If that coupon is refused, then there is no redemption.

  30. @Joe Krohn #92

    Mr. Krohn,

    You are trying to explain a difference between atonement and justification. I understand that difference, but explaining it as you have doesn’t answer my question.

    What I am seeing from your statements, is that the sins of the whole world are potentially forgiven due to Christ’s merit. IOW, you appear to want to say that forgiveness is promised in Christ, but not fulfilled in Christ. In such a view the sins of the world aren’t paid for by Christ, but instead Christ is treated like a security deposit made towards the debt of sin. In this erroneous view, Christ only makes the absolution of the sins of the world possible, not an actual reality.

  31. @Joe Krohn #92

    Now that is an interesting analogy, Joe. The store manager (Christ) has been given authority to print enough coupons (forgiveness) for the entire town (world). Indeed, he very much wishes for the whole town to make use of these coupons. But these coupons can only be used if they are given! The residents of the town cannot simply break into the store and take the coupons, nor are the coupons inherently the property of the residents – though they were made for them.

    So too forgiveness, though acquired by Christ for the whole world, is only the “property” of those who are made one with Christ in Holy Baptism, because all power in heaven and on earth belong to Christ alone. We are only God’s sons and co-heirs with God’s Son when we are united with the same. Outside of Him, there is no forgiveness or life, though the forgiveness and life do exist in Him. But that forgiveness is no one’s but Christ’s, just as the coupons are the property of the store manager. To say that the coupons are yours without having been given them (the work of the Holy Spirit through the Means) is about just as absurd as saying that you can take them yourself (Arminianism) or that the manager wishes to only give the coupons to some but not others (Calvinism) or that we can make the coupons more sure with our own money (Papism).

    The analogy certainly has flaws, but it’s much more succinct than the questionable OJ/SJ dichotomy.

  32. @Joe Krohn #92
    This is what you said: “Furthermore in verse 21, Paul makes it clear that God’s righteousness (and reconciliation) is not a slam dunk. Why? Because it comes through faith.” I am guessing that something that “slam dunk” means secured. I am glad to hear you say that forgiveness is secured by Christ’s obedience. But could you explain how righteousness coming through faith means that Christ’s righteousness He procured by His atonement isn’t a slam dunk?

  33. “Bohnoeffer liked the stanza, ‘Scripture has proclaimed how one death devoured another death’ from the Lutheran hymn ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden.’ This stanza expresses the crux of Christ’s vicarious representation even unto death; it is a matter of our freedom from sin and death. Later in prison Bonhoeffer composes these lines: ‘For Christians, pagans alike he hangs head, / And both alike forgiving [God “stirbt fur Christen und Heiden den Kreuzestod und vergibt ihnen beiden”].'”

    Wolf Krotke, “Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther” in Peter Frick, ed., Bonhoeffer’s Intellectual Formation: Theology and philosophy in His Thought, (Tubingen: Dulde-Druck, 1961) p. 63.

  34. @Joe Krohn #97
    Of course we don’t not first preach repentance. But we do proclaim to the world what God has done for them. We preach repentance and forgiveness, and the forgiveness is universally proclaimed by God to all in the risen body of His son in His Word. (Rom 4:25; Romans 5:18-19; 2 Cor 5:19-21)

    “The law would seem to be harmful since it has made all men sinners, but when the Lord Jesus came he forgave all men the sin that none could escape. (Apology IV, 103)”

    You can stand with whom you want. I will stand with God and the Confessions.

  35. @Joe Krohn #97

    Mr. Krohn,

    Yes, the object of faith is Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t tell us much if we just leave it at that. Didn’t Christ die on the cross, was buried, and rise from the dead as the God-Man? Didn’t He have to do that for a particular reason? So, when we talk about Christ being the object of faith, we don’t exclude the merits of Christ, nor do we exclude why He had to go to the cross. We must talk about the whole Christ as the object of our faith, if the words “Christ is the object of faith” is to be meaningful. Otherwise, we would be just like any New Ager talking about a mystical “Christ” as an object of faith, or any other heretical sect that talks about “putting faith in Christ.”

    Pr. Rydecki is correct in saying that the object of faith is not our justification, nor is it faith; it is Christ Jesus. But we can’t just leave that statement hanging out there. We have to flesh it out and talk about why that statement is true and especially with regard to Justification, because men like Osiander (who fell into error over justification), the Roman Catholic church, and others in error on the doctrine of Justification can say the same thing. It is Lutheran to ask, “What does this mean?”

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