The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What is justification and why is it necessary?


It’s not that we have to earn our salvation. It’s that in order to be free from sin, we actually have to be FREE from sin. I’m not saying anyone is going to achieve that in this life aside from Jesus, but it’s our duty to present our members as instruments of righteousness unto God, not as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. If we do the latter, we’re the slaves/employees/servants or whatever of SIN. If the former, we are servants and offspring of God our Father.

God HAS saved us (in Jesus Christ) from our sins. We need to cooperate in the ongoing manifestation/out-working of this salvation as we are taught of the Holy Spirit. “All these who are being led by the Spirit of God, these and none but these are the (mature) sons of God.” So long as we are little children, we are still GOD’s little children–but let’s at least aspire to grow up and become His mature daughters and sons, qualified to represent the family of God to the world. I’m not really certain that the “gracers” and the “worksers” in this thread would truly disagree with one another if we understood one another. The grace enables us to mature into the works, and the works show the fruits of the working out of grace. We do not “go to heaven” as spoiled bratty children still trying to bite our older siblings, making messes we refuse to clean up and grabbing for the best piece of chicken so the other little piggies don’t get to it first. That would not BE heaven at all. Not to us, nor to anyone else. This is a journey. As we make the journey into God’s grace, we become more and more like Christ. Getting there isn’t a reward for becoming perfect in love. Becoming perfect in love IS getting there.



What Paidion (and Cindy) just said!!!



So are you claiming it’d be impossible for a person to abstain from vengeance unless Jesus died and resurrected and the person believed it?

Most (if not all) Christians are not perfect people. They still sin. You seem to think that any sin renders a person unrighteous. Does a Christian’s status meander between righteous and unrighteous when he sins and repents? If so, righteousness is a transient thing. In which case it’s still not clear where Jesus’s death and destruction fits in. A person could do a combination of good and bad deeds whether Jesus become incarnate or not, no?


It would be interesting to know what degree of “life-long coöperation” is to be reached to where the doctrine of “righteousification” finds true righteousness being achieved, and whether such is even or ever possible in this life; which begs the question… if one’s “life-long coöperation” proves inadequate for attaining true righteous, what indication is there that postmortem “coöperation” is likely to have the power to pull the skin off a rice pudding either? I’d suggest like the “righteousification doctrine” itself suggests — zip, zero and zilch.

As much as it is being denied… this ‘other gospel’ of “righteousification” is not new and nothing other than a works-orientated, performance-based “system” of self-righteousness — albeit being claimed “Working together [with Him]”. :unamused:


R.C. Sproul:
“Here we reach the ultimate point of separation between semi-Pelagianism and Augustinianism, between Arminianism and Calvinism, between Rome and the Reformation. Here we discover whether we are utterly dependent on grace for our salvation or if, while still in the flesh, still in bondage to sin, and still dead in sin, we can cooperate with grace in such a way that affects our eternal destiny.”

That’s another of those ‘either-or’ fallacious statements centered around the Reformation struggle with ‘monergism’.

Either “we are utterly dependent on grace for our salvation”
“while still in the flesh, still in bondage to sin, and still dead in sin, we can cooperate with grace in such a way that affects our eternal destiny.”

That is a tangle of concepts and does nothing to clarify what the issue is.
The code words are ‘utterly dependent’ ‘grace’ ‘salvation’ ‘still in the flesh’ ‘dead in sin’ ‘cooperate’. The way they are arranged stacks the deck.
Both sides would say that yes, we are ‘utterly dependent’.
Both would say they believe in ‘grace’
And both would agree that someone dead in sin cannot lift themselves into rightness with God.

But still there is disagreement, because the connotations of the code words are derived from an entirely different background theology.
It’s why we talk past one another so often - even our beloved religious terms are context sensitive - in the above case, the same word can means different things against a when placed in front of a different theological underpinning - how is communication even possible?

I would suggest we all read “Philosophical Hermeneutics” (Here) but that might not be possible. (Yes I have a gift for understatement :laughing: )


Dave, to be honest, RC Sproul was the person who made me get sick about the reformed idea of scripture. I actually threw up when I heard a sermon of his.

God it was awful :blush:


I had much the same experience Chad.


Me too! I’m glad we share that common ground :slight_smile:


Davo, you seem to be adverse to works for some reason. God has commanded us to work and for very good reason. The way I see it, works are an integral part of salvation and righteousness. Furthermore, I think the lack of works is part of the problem. We can all get stuck sometimes in our mundane little worlds. Going out and helping someone else can be a very humbling experience and a real eye opener. It not only touches our own lives, but the life of the recipient as well. Children need to also be doing some works which helps them grow and mature into better adults. Why do you think so many people were flocking around Jesus? When we fail to do the work of God, we become spiritually starved.


Just a brief footnote here. I believe even the Roman Catholic church, has gotten away - from a system of works righteousness. And I don’t think it is found, in Eastern Orthodoxy or the varieties, of Protestant theology. :slight_smile:


Are ‘both sides’ using the code word ‘works’ in the same way, or are opponents attacking what they THINK the other person is saying?

‘Work’ is a loaded word. What do you mean by it?


Let’s try one example definition - from


Is anyone here using the word in that way, I wonder? Or does each side use it in a different way?


I reccommend reading “Of Justification” and “Of Other Eternal and Immanent Acts of God, such as Adoption and Justification” This is crucial because if you couple this doctrine, justification from eternity, with the doctrine of universal atonement, you necessarily have a form of Universalism.


DaveB said:

And Bob said:

We may not agree on the where with all of each of our beliefs, but this is a great group of folks.

Peace. :laughing:

Chad :wink:


HFPZ, thanks for the article on the works. :slight_smile:

Dave, There is a difference between spiritual works and “the works of the law”/Jewish law, the works of the one true God vs. the works of pagan gods/man. From what I understand the Jewish law was not the work of God. By claiming to be doing the work of God, Jesus was basically considered heretic.
As Matthew 9:35-38 points out, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, " The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.”

God does not want us to be ignorant and led astray by every false god that comes down the pike. Our belief in the Spirit is not blind faith. We follow Jesus because our faith is justified ( proven or shown to be right) by works. As Jesus said " If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe Me, but if I do them though you do not believe Me, believe the works so that you may know that the Father is in me and I in Him."

The sacrificing of animals and other ritual practices were the “dead works” of pagan gods, while the spiritual works of Jesus were bringing people alive. 'He that believes in Me, the works that I do, he shall also do." This is the Law of reciprocity, the Golden rule, and reaping what we sow in a positive way.

When one is persecuted and put to death for simply teaching and doing the work of God, something is terribly wrong. This is why Israel fell and their works were “burned up in the fire.”


If justification requires faith plus works it’s not clear to me what the faith side of the equation accomplishes. An unbeliever with good works could do the same works as a Christian with good works. If works count towards righteousness, why don’t they alone justify a person?

IMO either a person is justified by faith or works. Jesus’s resurrection and our faith in it don’t make any sense to me if justification is by a combination of faith and works.


Your faith is justified by your works - proven, declared to be real, genuine. Not to earn salvation, but to give evidence that faith is real and is in the God who raised Jesus.


People are justified, not people’s faith.