18 February 2011

God justifies the ungodly

by Phil Johnson

e recently had a commenter who strongly objected to the truth that God justifies the ungodly (cf. Romans 4:5). His argument seemed to be that God cannot righteously justify a sinner unless the sinner first makes himself righteous. Of course that is an utter impossibility. It is also a contradiction of the gospel.

The gospel, not the law, explains how sinners can be justified. The law offers sinners nothing but condemnation.

Here's a video with a brief explanation of the doctrine of justification. This doctrine is the heart and soul of gospel truth:

That video is part of the collection of resources at Jesus.org, a subsidiary of Christianity.com—both wonderful websites that you should bookmark. Poke around and you'll find a handful of videos featuring yours truly. Those were taped last fall while I was in New Jersey. They are unscripted, unrehearsed, off-the-cuff answers to questions given to me by Alex Crain on the spot (so if I stammer, meander, or sound disorganized, that's why).


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Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

so if I stammer, meander, or sound disorganized, that's why… [because] unscripted, unrehearsed, off-the-cuff…”

What a relief, for a moment I thought you were just trying to look as cool as Obama when he’s off the prompter always stammering, meandering, or sounding disorganized. ;-)

Seriously though… great stuff I look forward to checking out and I am sorry to hear how much your back is still bothering you. I’m praying for you.

Jason Kanz said...

Well done. I appreciate your dedication to the Gospel and your willingness to share these videos.

Nash Equilibrium said...

It just doesn't make sense that someone who is holy would justify the ungodly - to us. To God, it makes perfect sense, and that's why He did it!

If God didn't justify the ungodly, we'd be without hope.

Fred Butler said...

They should have shot it in B&W with a few panning effects to give it that emergent video feel.

Robert said...

And how grateful I am that He does because I see more every day just how ungodly I am. Not that I am trying to sin more, but that the lens of Scripture reveals my sin more clearly. How sweet is the grace of God! And how amazing is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

donsands said...

Well spoken. What a doctrine to bring joy and tears at the same time.
What a Savior! What a Father! Beyond belief really.

have a terrific weekend and Lord's day.

James Scott Bell said...

Well stated. As I suggested in the other comment section, "atonement" has no meaning if we have to be sinless.

Anonymous said...

I think back a few years ago before I was saved I was always justifying my sins. You know how it goes. "I deserve this because I (fill in the blank) Then to come to Christ and truly be justified. It's amazing! Great Post!

Scott Autry said...

"His argument seemed to be that God cannot righteously justify a sinner unless the sinner first makes himself righteous."

Isn't this the essence of Roman Catholicism?

That's why they call forensic justification a legal fiction.

Jessica Kramasz said...

Wow. If we had the ability to amke ourselves righteous, Christ atoning death on the cross was really unnecessary. Yikes.

northWord said...

Great stuff, Phil...and what an excellent website! Thanks!

~Prayers for healing for your back.


Anonymous said...

Phil, thanks for providing answers that are full of grace and fidelity to Scripture. I would love to set up future interviews with you. Off the cuff and unrehearsed keeps it real, right? Hardly noticed any of the stammering or meandering you mentioned.

Also looking forward to discussing the new book "Slave" with Dr. MacArthur next week, 2/23/11.

May God richly bless your life and ministry.


Angus W. Duncan said...

One of the most heretical things Joseph Smith did was when he "translated" the Bible and changed Romans 4:5 to "God justifies NOT the ungodly." By doing so, he made utter nonsense out of Paul's inspired description of the Gospel and laid the groundwork for Mormonism's false gospel of works righteousness. Truly sad.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I love posts that focus on Biblical issues. Thanks for this one, Phil.

Also, I am praying for your back problems. :)

James S said...

That was good stuff there. Any site that has you AND the Beggster teaching Truth is A-OK!
I pray they get a lot of hits from honest enquirers as well as seasoned christians looking for knowledge.