Sermon quotes on justification

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God has reserved to Himself the right to determine the end of life, because He alone knows the goal to which it is His will to lead it. It is for Him alone to justify a life or to cast it away.

F.F. Bruce

Those who have been justified are now being sanctified; those who have no experience of present sanctification have no reason to suppose they have been justified.

John Calvin

Justification by faith is the hinge on which all true religion turns.

John Calvin

It is entirely by the intervention of Christ’s righteousness that we obtain justification before God. This is equivalent to saying that man is not just in himself, but that the righteousness of Christ is communicated to him by imputation, while he is strictly deserving of punishment.

William Gurnall

We are justified, not by giving anything to God, – what we do, – but by receiving from God, what Christ hath done for us.

A.E. Houseman

And malt does more than Milton can

To justify God’s ways to man.

Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink

For fellows whom it hurts to think.

A Shrophsire Lad

Timothy Keller

When God “credits righteousness”, He is conferring a legal status on someone. He treats them as actually righteous and free from condemnation, even though they are still actually unrighteous in their heart and behavior. They are “justified.”

Galatians For You, The Good Book Company, 2013.

Martin Luther

There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.

Martin Luther

Every week I preach justification by faith to my people, because every week they forget it.

Martin Luther

We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.

Martin Luther

Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith.’ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.

Alister McGrath

The faith by which we are justified is faith. Faith is like a channel through which the benefits of Christ flow to us. We are not justified on account of faith; we are justified through faith. It is the work of Christ, not our faith, which is the foundation of justification. Faith itself is a gift of God.

J.I. Packer

“To ‘justify’ in the Bible means… to declare … of a man on trial, that he is not liable to any penalty, but is entitled to all the privileges due to those who have kept the law. Justifying is the act of a judge pronouncing the opposite sentence to condemnation—that of acquittal and legal immunity.

God’s Words, pages 139-140.

J.I. Packer

Martin Luther described the doctrine of justification by faith as the article of faith that decides whether the church is standing or falling. By this he meant that when this doctrine is understood, believed, and preached, as it was in New-Testament times, the church stands in the grace of God and is alive; but where it is neglected, overlaid, or denied, … the church falls from grace and its life drains away, leaving it in a state of darkness and death.

R.C. Sproul

I’m afraid that in the United States of America today the prevailing doctrine of justification is not justification by faith alone. It is not even justification by good works or by a combination of faith and works. The prevailing notion of justification in our culture today is justification by death. All one has to do to be received into the everlasting arms of God is to die.

Charles Spurgeon

Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life by virtue of God’s grace.

John Stott

Justification is a legal or forensic term, belonging to the law courts. Its opposite is condemnation. Both are the pronouncements of a judge. In a Christian context they are the alternative eschatological verdicts which God the judge may pass on judgment day. So when God justifies sinners today, he anticipates his own final judgment by bringing into the present what belongs properly to the last day.

The Message of Romans (The Bible Speaks Today Series), InterVarsity Press.

John Stott

What God said to Abraham was not ‘Obey this law and I will bless you’, but ‘I will bless you; believe my promise’

The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World.

Thomas Watson

God does not justify us because we are worthy, but by justifying us make us worthy.

Thomas Watson

It is absurd to imagine that God should justify a people and not sanctify them, He should justify a people whom He could not glorify.

Rowan Williams

The church is a community that exists because something has happened that makes the entire process of self-justification irrelevant. God’s truth and mercy have appeared in concrete form in Jesus and, in his death and resurrection, have worked the transformation that only God can perform, told us what only God can tell us: that he has already dealt with the dreaded consequences of our failure, so that we need not labor anxiously to save ourselves and put ourselves right with God.

Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another, New Seeds Books, 2005, 26.

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