Justification Is Clear


The Order of Matins

Lutheran Service Book (LSB)

The Order of Matins p. 219

The Psalmody p.220

The Reading Jude 1-25  

The Responsory p. 221

The Catechetical Instruction

The doctrine of the goals and effects of justification is clear and easy, but it is useful and necessary to repeat it at this point in our study of justification, for several important reasons. 1. That justification is received by faith should serve as a constant warning regarding the end or goal of the doctrine of justification, so that we do not misuse this teaching in order to cultivate or confirm licentiousness, as the Epistle of Jude admonishes in v. 4: “transposing or transferring or perverting the grace of God into licentiousness.” 2. Just as we have a uniting of causes and effects in nature, so when we have the causes for our justification, we should have no doubt concerning the effects, namely salvation and eternal life. 3. That believers might know how to perform good works; and so that they will not seek a pretext to avoid doing them, Scripture says that renewal is an effect or result of justification. 4. Christ says in Matt. 7:16–20 that we are to judge a tree by its fruits. Paul in 2 Cor. 13:5 says: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are holding to your faith”; cf. 2 Peter 1:10: “Make your calling sure.” We judge the cause by the effects. 5. This distinction between causes and effects is also useful for showing that sanctification or renewal is to be distinguished from justification, and that the new obedience is not a cause or an essential part of our justification, because it is an effect or a result. 6. By means of this distinction we can also answer the difficult question: When the believing heart in its trials feels no joy, peace, or happiness, is faith at that time, when it lays hold on Christ in the promise and tries to sustain itself with comfort, able to determine that it has the true righteousness unto life eternal? There is a difference between the causes, or the form of our righteousness before God and its effects. When the form or formal cause of our righteousness has been established, as described above, then faith ought to be assured of the acceptance of our person before God, unless it wants to make Him a liar. Indeed, the effects show the cause, and when the effects cease, then we may conclude that the cause does not actually exist either.

In the case of our justification, which is the full and perfect acceptance of the believer unto eternal life, certain effects in our life, such as the new obedience, follow rather slowly because of the weakness of our flesh. Some effects follow the way Scripture says, 2 Cor. 5:7: “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Likewise Rom. 4:18: “In hope he believed against hope.” Col. 3:3: “Our life is hidden with Christ in God”; Ps. 31:19: “You have laid up good things for those who fear You.”

Martin Chemnitz and Jacob A. O. Preus, Loci Theologici, electronic ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 555.

The Canticle - Te Deum  p.223

The Prayer p. 227

Benedicamus p. 228