alien righteousness

Packer – Justification by faith is like Atlas

“The Reformers’ exposition of justification boiled down to the following seven points. 1. Every man faces the judgement seat of God, and must answer to God for himself. The church cannot shield him from this. 2. Every man is a sinner by nature and practice, a nonconformist so far as God’s law is concerned, and therefore can only expect God’s wrath and rejection. 3. Justification is God’s judicial act of pardoning the guilty sinner, accepting him righteous, and receiving him as a son. 4. The source of justification is grace, not human effort or initiative. 5. The ground of justification is Christ’s vicarious righteousness and blood-shedding, not our own merit. 6. The means of justification, here and now, is faith in Jesus Christ. 7. The fruit of faith, the evidence of its reality, is a manifested repentance and a life of good works.”

-The old Packer who also wrote, “For the doctrine of justification by faith is like Atlas: it bears a world on its shoulders, the entire evangelical knowledge of saving grace. The doctrines of election, of effectual calling, regeneration, and repentance, of adoption, of prayer, of the church, the ministry, and the sacraments, have all to be interpreted and understood in the light of justification by faith. …when justification falls, all true knowledge of the grace of God in human life fall with it, and then, as Luther said, the church itself falls… When Atlas falls, everything that rested on his shoulders comes crashing down too.”

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