Pristine Grace

Eternal Justification
by Chris Cunningham
Eternal Justification

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. - Eph 1:3-4

   Perhaps you have heard the “Doctrine of Eternal Justification” either denied or defended. The arguments for and against this formally established doctrine are a tribute to man’s uncanny natural ability to complicate the plain truth of God.

   Of course justification is eternal. Justification is God considering a sinner to be sinless. How long has God considered His sheep to be sinless? We are sinless in Christ, and we have been in Christ since “before the foundation of the world,” according to our text. God has revealed Himself as the eternal, immutable God. We cannot consider Him, in light of scripture, as having changed His mind regarding His people, having considered them as guilty for a time and then as just, once Christ died. How does the eternal, immutable God consider something so “for a time."

   Some say that to speak of the eternal aspect of justification is blasphemous because (they say) it makes void the work of Christ on the cross. This is like saying our eternal election makes void the work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit in time. It is simply an unscriptural objection.

   Abraham was justified long before Christ ever died (Rom 4). How? Did God sweep his sins under a rug until Christ came and died for him? No, God forgave him his sins on the basis of the eternal efficacy of Christ’s precious blood. Did the fact that Abraham was justified before God before Christ died, make His sin-atoning death unnecessary? Foolishness!

   By not limiting God in His eternal estimation of us in Christ, are we diminishing the glory of the cross, an event that took place in time? Of course not! We do not trust a temporal event, but a timeless Person. It is Christ that died! Yet, we glory all the more in His death when we acknowledge the eternal benefits of it.

   The basis of our justification is Christ in His redemptive work on the cross at Calvary. His precious blood is the price of our redemption. This being an event that took place in time in no way necessitates that God’s estimation of us changed in time. God was not waiting to see if Christ would indeed redeem us and reserving judgment concerning our condition before Him until He died. Because of what Christ did for me, the God Who declares the end from the beginning (Isa 46:10), has declared me just, holy, sinless in Christ.