How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
A. Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification; but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness.
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
Welcome to the Reformed Standard. I’m Tony, let’s get started. Question 73 of the Westminster Larger Catechism reads: How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God? And the answer is: Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification; but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness.
So we talked about in the previous two questions here, that faith is not a meritorious thing by which God makes us worthy of justification or worthy of salvation. It’s not a matter of the good works, it produces, it’s not a matter of the other benefits that come with it, even though they always do come with it. But faith is a gift from the Holy Spirit. And it is a gift by which the the justifying merits of Christ are imputed to us. And so this question here is clarifying and further explaining that. So it says here that it is not because of those other graces, which always do accompany it. And we’ll talk more as we get into the next several questions what those accompanying Grace’s are. It’s not of the good route, good works, which are the fruit of it. So it’s the same establishing here and affirming that, although faith alone is what justifies the faith that justifies is never alone. And so the, the other graces always necessarily accompany it, but also good works as the fruits of justifying faith, always accompany that faith. And it’s not as though faith itself is an imputed righteousness. So there are certain streams of thought in Armenian theology, and then certainly in Roman Catholic theology, which make faith a meritorious or semi meritorious work or semi meritorious thing in which they conceptualize faith as though God has granted faith. And that faith itself somehow makes a person worthy of salvation. And so what this is saying is that faith is a gracious gift from God. But it is not that faith, nor anything that that faith brings about any act, any outward act of that faith, which is the justification or the righteousness of the person. And so it’s it’s making those statements and then it contrasts here it says, only as an instrument by which he receive it and apply it Christ as his righteousness. And so we can think about this and talk about this as arresting and receiving, which is what the, the Westminster catechism says earlier. And so the the righteousness, the faith of the love of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, is received by faith. And so Faith is the open hand. If you picture a person who is being given something, and they extend their hand and they open their hand, and then that thing is placed in their hand. That’s the picture that divides here a painting of faith is that it’s not as though that hand is growing, grasping at it. It’s not a hand that is reaching for this gift. It’s not a hand that is reaching to obtain this outcome, but it is simply an open receiving hand in which God grants the sinner, the the righteousness of Christ in union with him, and it is that righteousness of Christ by which they are justified.