Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reading the Classics with Challies - Redemption Accomplished and Applied

In CHAPTER V of the second part of John Murray's classic work entitled Redemption Accomplished and Applied, Murray covers the next link the the golden chain of salvation: justification.

I was very interested in reading this chapter as the past month had me reading two John Piper books on justification; Counted Righteous in Christ and The Future of Justification. This chapter did not disappoint.

One thing that has surprised me as I have learned more about justification is the lack of interest in this doctrine on the part of believers (including myself, or especially myself) and the lack of teaching on this doctrine on the part of leaders. Murray discusses why he believes this is the case.
"This is the reason why the grand article of justification does not ring the bells in the innermost depths of our spirit. And this is the reason why the gospel of justification is to such an extent a meaningless sound in the world and in the church of the twentieth century. We are not imbued with the profound sense of the reality of God, of his majesty and holiness. And sin, if reckoned with at all, is little more than a misfortune or maladjustment." (117, emphasis mine)
Murray's reasoning is as follows: We are sinners, and as sinners we are against God and He is against us; His perfection unavoidably recoils with righteous indignation; and this is His wrath which is poured out against all unrighteousness. This issue of our sin and God's wrath is not considered with the seriousness it should be. "Far too frequently we fail to entertain the gravity of this fact. Hence the reality of our sin and the reality of the wrath of God upon us for our sin do not come into our reckoning." (117) And this causes us to downplay, minimize, alter, ignore, or even deny the wondrous and beautiful doctrine of justification.

For Murray, there is but one solution:
"If we are to appreciate that which is central in the gospel, if the jubilee trumpet is to find its echo again in our hearts, our thinking must be revolutionized by the realism of the wrath of God, of the reality and gravity of our guilt, and of the divine condemnation. It is then and only then that our thinking and feeling will be rehabilitated to an understanding of God's grace in the justification of the ungodly." (118)
Murray continues to expound on this doctrine in the rest of the chapter. But this explanation of why justification does not produce grand and great gratitude in our churches was what captured my thoughts and stirred my heart. I pray that I would grow in my understanding, and thus also grow in my gratefulness, of this wonderful doctrine. For the bottom line is this; though we are ungodly and sinful beings on whom the wrath of God should and could justly fall, instead we are considered and declared, by God, righteous in Christ by faith, with the very righteousness of God. Glory!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, glory indeed! We are blessed beyond measure, and this chapter was a beautiful summary of that.

    "I pray that I would grow in my understanding, and thus also grow in my gratefulness, of this wonderful doctrine." Me, too.