Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 19
Q & A 70
Q What is justification?
A Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners,1 in which he pardons all their sins, accepts and accounts their persons righteous in his sight;2 not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them,3 but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them,4 and received by faith alone.*5
Q & A 71
Q How is justification an act of God’s free grace?
A Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified;6 yet in as much as God accepts the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son,7 imputing his righteousness to them,8 and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith,9 which also is his gift,10 their justification is to them of free grace.11
Q & A 72
Q What is justifying faith?
A Justifying faith is a saving grace,12 wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit13 and Word of God,14 whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition,15 not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel,16 but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin,17 and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.*18
Q & A 73
Q How does 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,19 nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification;20 but only as it is an instrument by which he receives and applies Christ and his righteousness.*21
*1 Romans 3:22, 24-25; Romans 4:5.
*2 2 Corinthians 5:19, 21; Romans 3:22, 24-25, 27-28.
*3 Titus 3:5, 7; Ephesians 1:7.
*4 Romans 5:17-19; Romans 4:6-8.
*5 Acts 10:43; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9.
*6 Romans 5:8-10, 19.
*7 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 10:10; Matthew 20:28; Daniel 9:24, 26; Isaiah 53:4-6, 10-12; Hebrews 7:22; Romans 8:32; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
*8 2 Corinthians 5:21.
*9 Romans 3:24-25.
*10 Ephesians 2:8.
*11 Ephesians 1:17.
*12 Hebrews 10:39.
*13 2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 1:17-19.
*14 Romans 10:14-17.
*15 Acts 2:37; Acts 16:30; John 16:8-9; Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:1; Acts 4:12.
*16 Ephesians 1:13.
*17 John 1:12; Acts 10:43.
*18 Philippians 3:9; Acts 15:11.
*19 Galatians 3:11; Romans 3:28.
*20 Romans 4:5; Romans 10:10.
*21 John 1:12; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 1:16.