The Often Missing Reality in Most Teaching that the Final Judgment Will be According to Works

A post I wrote for the DG blog today.

December 22, 2010 | Filed Under Uncategorized | 3 Comments 

Comments

  • http://brianlund.wordpress.com blund

    Hey Matt,

    Great work, as usual. One (nitpicky?) comment.

    Would it be better to think of our works as being sanctified rather than justified? The first reason I thought this was because of I Pet 2.5, which you pointed out, and it has more in common with sanctification than justification (cf. Rom 15.16; both use euprosdektos). Secondly, given the background of the OT cultus in both of those texts, it is common to speak of “set apart” sacrifices, but not “justified” sacrifices, is it? Finally, I’m in awe of a God who justifies the ungodly at the Cross, but I’m not sure what justification then means if it is applied to my (evidential) good works.

    What do you think? Is that straining at gnats? Have I misunderstood you?

  • Matt

    That’s a great question to raise. I think you are right that there is indeed a sense in which we can speak of our works as “sanctified,” understood in this positional sense as “set apart” and “accepted.” So I don’t think that would be wrong at all.

    I think we can also say, in addition to this, that our works are justified. Obviously there is a lot of overlap; one distinction may be that when talking of sanctification, the meaning is primarily that of holiness and being set apart.

    With justification, the emphasis is on righteousness–that is, having fulfilled the requirements of God’s law.

    The NT speaks of the people of God as both being sanctified (set apart, holy–I’m speaking of _positional_ sanctification here, rather than our practical growth in holiness, as most uses of “sanctified” in the NT are positional) and justified. Both are (or, in the case of sanctification, usually) positional terms, but getting at different realities. We are sanctified in the sense that we are set apart for God. We are justified in that we are forgiven and regarded as righteous, having fulfilled his law.

    So also with our works: they are sanctified, but they are also justified in the sense that the sins that remain in them are forgiven and God regards them as “righteous” and “truly good” through the work of Christ, _in addition_ to regarding them as “set apart” and “sanctified.”

    Does that make sense? I think the analogy of how we ourselves are both sanctified and justified gets at the difference here.

    Behind all of this is a really good quote by Calvin that I might post, where he speaks of our works as being justified.

  • http://brianlund.wordpress.com blund

    Thanks Matt, that is helpful. I think I’m aware of the Calvin quote(s) you’re referencing. Have a merry Christmas, and every blessing on your writing endeavors.