Lord's Day 15

Week 14 :: Week 15 :: Week 16


Justification is the act in which unjust sinners are made right with God. It is an instantaneous act in which God declares our sins are forgiven, and Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. Charles Spurgeon illustrates our justification this way: The way whereby God saves a sinner is not, as some say, by passing over the penalty. No; the penalty has been all paid. It is the putting of another person in the rebel's place. The rebel must die. God says he must. Christ says, “I will be substitute for the rebel. The rebel shall take my place; I will take his.” God consents to it. In his infinite mercy he consented to the arrangement. “Son of my love,” said he, “you must stand in the sinner's place; you must suffer what he ought to have suffered, you must be accounted guilty, just as he was accounted guilty, and then I will look upon the sinner in another light. I will look at him as if he were Christ; I will accept him as if he were my only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth. I will give him a crown in heaven, and I will take him to my heart for ever and ever.” This is the way we are saved. (From Justification by Grace, a Sermon Delivered on April 5, 1857) By the gracious love of God in Jesus Christ, we are given full pardon for all our sins. To be pardoned, in the legal sense, is to be regarded as though the offense or crime never occurred. By faith, we are no longer sinners in God’s eyes, but the redeemed in Christ, forgiven and righteous in His sight. 

It is very important to note the use of the word “imputed” in the catechism. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not imparted. We are declared righteous by God. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us, or credited to us; it is not our own, it is not inherent to our nature. We do not possess Christ’s righteousness, rather, we are deemed righteous because we are united to Christ in faith. Christ is our righteousness. This is the gift of God’s grace to all who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; we are forgiven and at peace with God. 


Gracious God, thank you for sending your Son to fulfill all righteousness, and to die a death that would remove all our sins and become for us a perfect righteousness. May we be strengthened by your Holy Spirit to live to the praise of your glorious grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Question 33

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.

Scripture Proofs

Rom. 3:24-25;

and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Rom. 4:6-8;

just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;

blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Acts 2:37;

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

2 Cor. 5:19;

that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Cor. 5:21;

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Rom. 5:17-19;

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Gal. 2:16;

yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Phil. 3:9.

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—