The Biblical teaching that is near and dear to evangelical Christians is Justification. Justification is God’s verdict that sinners are counted righteous because God accounts to us the righteousness of Another, namely Jesus.
In a chapel sermon on October 8, 1959, at Concordia Seminary (St. Louis), Dr. Robert Preus said it this way:
“This is God’s justification: that He makes the sinless Christ to be a sinner by letting Him die a bloody death on the cross, and in contrast He absolves us who were sinners and reckons us to be righteous and innocent. This what Paul means when he says, ‘Being justified by his blood.’ [Romans 5:9]” (Preus, Robert. Preaching to Young Theologians. The Luther Academy (St. Louis):1999. Pg. 36.)
The 16th Century German evangelicals, via the pen of Phillip Melanchthon, confessed this central doctrine of the Scriptures this way:
“Because, therefore, men by their own strength cannot fulfill the Law of God, and all are under sin, and subject to eternal wrath and death, on this account we cannot be freed by the Law from sin and be justified, but the promise of the remission of sins and of justification has been given us for Christ’s sake, who was given for us in order that He might make satisfaction for the sins of the world, and has been appointed as the only Mediator and Propitiator. And this promise has not the condition of our merits [it does not read thus: Through Christ you have grace, salvation etc., if you merit it], but freely offers the remission of sins and justification as Paul says Rom. 11:6: If it be of works, then is it no more grace. And in another place, Rom. 3:21: The righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, i.e., the remission of sins is freely offered. Nor does reconciliation depend upon our merits. Because if the remission of sins were to depend upon our merits, and reconciliation were from the Law, it would be useless. For as we do not fulfill the Law, it would also follow that we would never obtain the promise of reconciliation. Thus Paul reasons, Rom. 4:14: For if they which are of the Law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. For if the promise would require the condition of our merits and the Law, which we never fulfill, it would follow that the promise would be useless.
“But since justification is obtained through the free promise it follows that we cannot justify ourselves. Otherwise wherefore would there be need to promise? [And why should Paul so highly extol and praise grace?] For since the promise cannot be received except by faith, the Gospel which is properly the promise of the remission of sins and of justification for Christ’s sake, proclaims the righteousness of faith in Christ, which the Law does not teach. Nor is this the righteousness of the Law. For the Law requires of us our works and our perfection. But the Gospel freely offers, for Christ’s sake, to us, who have been vanquished by sin and death, reconciliation which is received not by works, but by faith alone.” Ap AC IV:40-43
This doctrine of Justification is our life in Christ at Faith Lutheran School of Plano. Thank you for your partnership.
Pastor Kieser, Headmaster