A really guilty man, when acquitted by judge and jury, does not cease to be the victim of remorse and fear. Forgiveness of sin is not in itself a deliverance from sin. The outward acquittal needs to be accompanied by an inward change to be really effective. Pardon for sin without power to overcome sin would be a mockery of the criminal. Justification for Christ?s sake therefore goes into effect through regeneration by the Holy Spirit. See E. H. Johnson, in Bibliotheca Sacra, July, 1892:362.
A Buddhist priest who had studied some years in England printed in Shanghai not long ago a pamphlet entitled ?Justification by Faith the only true Basis of Morality.? It argues that any other foundation is nothing but pure selfishness, but that morality, to have any merit, must be unselfish. Justification by faith supplies an unselfish motive because we accept the work done for us by another and we ourselves work from gratitude, which is not a selfish motive. After laying down this Christian foundation, the writer erects the structure of faith in the Amida incarnation of Buddha. Buddhism opposes to the Christian doctrine of a creative Person, only a creative process. Sin has relation only to the man sinning, and has no relation to Amida Buddha or to the eternal law of causation. Salvation by faith in Amida Buddha is faith in one who is the product of a process, and a product may perish. Tennyson: ?They are but broken lights of Thee, And thou, O Christ, art more than they.?
Justification is possible therefore, because it is always accompanied by regeneration and union with Christ and is followed by sanctification. But this is a very different thing from the Romanist confounding ofjustification and sanctification, as different stages of the same process of making the sinner actually holy. It holds fast to the Scripture distinction between justification as a declarative act of God, and regeneration and sanctification as those efficient acts of God by which justification is accompanied and followed.
Both history and our personal observation show that nothing can change the life and make men moral, like the gospel of free pardon in Jesus Christ. Mere preaching of morality will effect nothing of consequence. There never has been more insistence upon morality than in the most immoral times like those of Seneca and of the English deists. As to their moral fruits, we can safely compare Protestant with Roman Catholic systems and leaders and countries. We do not become right by doing right for only those can do right who have become right. The prodigal son is forgiven before he actually confesses and amends ( <421520>Luke 15:20, 21). Justification is always accompanied by regeneration and is followed by
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