Wednesday, February 24, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: JUSTIFICATION - BY JOHN GILL


Justification: Sinners Righteous in Christ, by Dr. John Gill.

Paperback; 95 pages;

Published by Gospel Standard Trust Publications.

For years we have thought that booklets of this kind should be published.
Dr. Gill was a great and godly theologian, perhaps the foremost among the Particular Baptists. His Body of Divinity is a mammoth work, but in small print, and the sections set closely together. What has been needed is for someone to take a section on a vital subject, divide it up and space it suitably, omit unnecessary footnotes and Latin quotations – which has now been done, superbly, by Timothy Abbott, who has also provided an excellent introduction.

So now we have a valuable, suitably priced, easy-to-be-read booklet on a vital subject.

Justification by faith is a truth which is still being assailed today.

Dr. Gill believed in eternal justification – that is, an eternal act of God in
which He viewed and declared His people righteous as He saw them in Christ.

Sometimes people, wrongly, speak of this as being opposed to the doctrine of justification by faith.

The doctrine of justification by faith stood in opposition, not to eternal justification, but to justification by works, the Roman Catholic doctrine. The vital ground of justification is Christ’s righteousness imputed to the sinner.

We have never understood why there has been such an outcry against eternal justification, which in no way denies justification by faith. In former days eternal justification was spoken of by some as “antinomianism,” why we do not know.

God’s viewing His people as righteous in Christ before time began is no more a cause for antinomianism than is eternal election, or eternal union, or everlasting love.

Recent writers have suggested that if God’s people are justified from eternity, then what they need to do is to just find out if they are or not. But surely the gospel plan is for a sinner, feeling he has no righteousness of his own, to flee for refuge by faith to trust in the righteousness of Jesus, and so be justified by faith (as a sure proof that in God’s sight he has been viewed as righteous in Christ from eternity).

May the Lord bless this book.

By B.A. Ramsbottom.

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