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Definition of Justification

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Justification is the work God does for us, sanctification is the work God does in us. Justification makes us children of God, and sanctification is the process of becoming saints. Justification is based on the atoning work of Christ and entails the forgiveness of sin and freedom from guilt. Wesley teaches that when you are justified, you are forgiven of past sins. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers because of what Jesus did. He applied imputation to justification only, not sanctification because he was concerned about people taking this as a license to sin. Sola Fide is the teaching that faith is not only the necessary condition of justification, but it is also a sufficient condition. Wesley teaches that justification and regeneration occur simultaneously, never one without the other. Wesley held not one but two aspects of his doctrine of salvation in tension: both process and instantaneousness, divine and human cooperation as well as the work of God alone.


I. What Justification Is Not

A. It is not being made actually just and righteous

B. It is not the clearing of us from the accusation brought against us by the law

C. God is not deceived by those who are justified

II. What Justification Is

A. It is based on the atoning work of Christ

B. It entails the forgiveness of sins

C. Wesley limits the forgiveness of sins to those that are past

III. Imputation

IV. The Question of Sola Fide

V. Justification and Regeneration are Linked

VI. Temporal Elements as the Key

VII. Questions and Answers

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