2 November 2003
Ephesians 1:7, 2 Corinthians 5:19, Romans 4:5, Acts 10:43 & Galatians 2:16
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.33. What is justification?
A. Justification is the act of God’s free grace by which He pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight. He does so only because He counts the righteousness of Christ as ours. Justification is received by faith alone.
1. What does the word “justify” mean in the New Testament?
The word means “to deem to be right” in the New Testament. It signifies two things: (1) to show to be right or righteous; (2) to declare to be righteous.
2. Who is the author of our justification?
God is the author of our justification. In this question we have the first of a series in which the words “an act of God’s free grace” is used. We are justified freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The grace of God is the deepest ground and final cause of our justification.
3. What are the two parts to justification?
The two parts are: (1) the pardoning of our sins; (2) the accepting us as righteous in his sight.
4. What two great truths are present in these two parts?
The first great truth is that the pardoning of our sins is a continued act. (See Calvin on John 1:29). All our sins are forgiven. The second truth is that we are not only pardoned but our Lord does not abhor us but accepts us as righteous.
5. How is it possible that he accepts us as righteous?
It is possible for him to accept us as righteous because his righteousness is made ours by imputation. (Romans 4:6).
6. What is imputation and how does it apply to us?
Imputation is God’s act of reckoning righteousness or guilt to a person’s credit or debit. It is as if we had obeyed the law and had satisfied justice.
7. How are we justified?
We are justified purely by faith without any kind of work being involved.