The Moment of Justification
I am currently reading through 15 sermons by Henric Schartau; the Swedish Pastor who is known for his sermon ‘Jesus Only’ in the book ‘The Hammer of God.’ In his sermon on the Third Sunday after Epiphany he writes these words.
…in the very moment that a soul frightened by God’s law believes that Jesus can and will blot out his guilt and make him righteous before God, it happens even as he believes. Jesus “blots out his transgressions as a thick cloud,” clothes the soul in His meritorious righteousness, and grants it “an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in Jesus,” who has purchased this with His obedience, with His blood and death.
These words agree well with the Article IV of the Augsburg Confession that;
…men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.
The moment of justification is a present tense reality. It happens as a person believes in Jesus for his salvation. That Jesus can and will blot out his guilt and make him righteous before God, that he is received into favor and his sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. And all not based on anything which he has done, but all based on what Jesus has done for him, who, by his death, has made satisfaction for his sins. It happens even as he believes; God imputes his faith for righteousness in His sight.