Clarence E. Mason's "Soteriology"
BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
- THE MEANING OF THE WORD
There is a relationship between righteousness and justification. The root
of the word righteousness is the root of the word justification.
- Old Testament words
- Tsaddiq - "to declare
righteous, " but not "to make righteous" (Dt. 25:1;
Ex. 23:7; Isa. 5:23)
- Tsedeq - "righteous,
just" (Job. 8:6)
- Tsadaq - "to be
right, just" (Dan. 12:3)
- New Testament words
- Dikaios - "just"
(Mt. 1:19; Lk. 15:7; 1 Jn. 1:9; Jn. 5:30; Rom. 7:12; Phil. 4:8; Col.
- Dikaioo - "to declare
one just or justified"
Mt. 11:19 - used of wisdom
Lk. 7:29 - used of the acts of man
Rom. 3:20 - used negatively of the law
Lk. 18:14 - used of the act of God in accounting righteous
Acts 13:39 - used of a believer in Christ
- Explanatory remarks
- Justification is a forensic
term, i.e., one associated with the courts of justice. It has nothing
to do with how the man who has been vindicated was made righteous.
It concerns itself with the legal pronouncement, of the judge that
the person involved is thereby declared righteous.
- The meaning of the original
words in both the Greek and the Hebrew suggests the thought of "declaring
righteous" in a legal sense, rather than meaning to make one
righteous or just. Justification is a term that deals with our standing
or relationship, rather than our state or conduct.
- Of ourselves, we are
sinful. Therefore, before God can pronounce us righteous:
- The sin problem must
be taken care of.
- There must be the
gift of Christ's righteousness to us.
1 Corinthians 1:30 - Christ is made unto us righteousness. In
the sight of God, we are righteous. To declare righteous is more
than to pardon, and actually it is more than to acquit.
- THE MEANS OF JUSTIFICATION
Not by the works of the law (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16).
The law was given to convict men of sin and to lead them to Christ (Gal.
3:10; Rom, 3:19-20,23; cp. Isa. 53:7).
- The origin - His grace
(Rom. 3:24), freely, without a cause. It is not on the ground of any
desert in us. It is a gift God bestows without pay.
- The ground of justification.
We are declared righteous on the basis of Christ's shed blood (Rom.
5:9; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21).
- The condition of justification.
- Faith is the instrument
by which justification is made mine (Gal. 2:16; Acts 13:39; Rom.
3:26; 4:5; 5:1). We are justified when we believe in Him who shed
His blood. b. We are justified in Christ because of our union
with Him (1 Cor. 6:11).
- Faith is the acceptance
of God's method of justification. Faith appropriates what grace
- THE EXTENT OF JUSTIFICATION
- Every one that believeth
is justified from all things (Acts 13:39). The whole record is wiped out
-- all things.
- The believer is made the
righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9; Rom. 3:21-22).
There is an exchange of position between Christ and the believer. Christ
took our place, the place of the curse (Gal. 3:3); He was made sin (2
Cor. 5:21; cp. Isa. 53:6).
When we are justified, we step into His place, the place of acceptance
(Eph. 1:6, "accepted in the beloved and by the beloved"). The
freed criminal has the problem of being accepted by society.
To be justified is more than to be forgiven. Forgiveness is negative,
the putting away of sin. Justification is positive, the reckoning of positive
A king can pardon a man, but he can't make him righteous. But the King
of Kings not only pardons us, but declares us righteous. Thus, the believer
can hold up his head and say, "By the grace of God, I am righteous.
" "I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
Jesus Christ is so united to the believer that God reckons our sins to
Him. The believer is so near to Christ that God reckons His righteousness
to us. When Christ's work is completed in us, we will be in actual fact
what we are in God's reckoning (1 Jn. 3:2).
- THE TIME OF JUSTIFICATION
Acts 13:39 - the moment we believe, God reckons His righteousness to us.
- THE RESULTS OF JUSTIFICATION
- Freedom from incrimination
(Rom. 8:1, 33-35). No one can lay anything to the charge of God's elect.
Dr. Moule: "Who will lodge a charge against God's chosen ones? Will
God who justifies them? Who will condemn them, if the charge is lodged?
Will Christ, who died, nay, who rose, who is on the right hand of God,
who is actually interceding for them?"
- Peace with God (Rom. 5:1).
The enmity between the sinner and God is put away by the cross (Eph. 2:14-17;
Coi. 1:20, 22). "Peace with God" has to do with our standing.
"The peace of God" (Phil. 4:7) concerns our state.
- We are made heirs and are
assured of future glorification (Tit. 3:7; Rom. 8:30, also v. 17).
- We shall be saved from the
wrath of God (Rom. 5:9; Jn. 5:24; 1 Cor. 3:13-15.
- FOUR USES OF THE WORD JUSTIFY
- We are justified meritoriously
by the blood of Christ. The merit which is necessary for justification
is found in the sacrifice of Christ (Rom. 5:9; 4:25).
- We are justified judicially
by God the Father declaring us righteous (Rom. 8:33). The highest court
- We are justified instrumentally
by faith (Rom. 5:1).
- We are justified evidentially
by works (Jas. 2:14-18, 23-24),
Abraham was justified before God by faith and before men by his works
"The working man is not the justified man, but the justified man
is the working man," Evans
The tree shows its life by its fruits, but it was alive before either
the fruit or the leaves appeared.
The first three are the Godward aspect; the fourth is the manward aspect.
- JUSTIFICATION IS THE ACT OF
GOD WHEREBY HE DECLARES RIGHTEOUS ONE WHO BELIEVES ON JESUS CHRIST.
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