The Good News of the Judgment

Justification and Sanctification in the Judgment Hour
William Diehl

Many of the perfectionists in the Christian church claim that those who teach the evangelical Pauline gospel are teaching lawlessness and "sin as you please". The apostle Paul himself was accused of this by the enemies of the Gospel of justification by faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ.

Perfectionism is the omega of apostasy from the Gospel and is the last great deception of the Man of Sin. The whole basis of all false religions, including the Roman Catholic system and many cultic holiness and charismatic groups, is their major emphasis of "infused" holiness by the indwelling Holy Spirit to make the sinners acceptable before God.

This is NOT the message of the Gospel that is taught in Paul's epistle to the Romans. The Gospel is that all continually fall short of the glory of God and that all of us are accepted before God only through faith in the sinless life and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The imputed righteousness of Christ is reckoned to all repentant sinners through faith. All who trust in Christ's imputed righteousness are justified by unmerited grace alone. The Holy Spirit then fills the heart of the believer with love for God and one's neighbor and is revealed in the life by holiness of life and good works of love in fulfillment the Law of God, the Ten Commandments.

But this indwelling righteousness is never perfect or sinless enough to justify us before God now or at the second coming of our Lord in glory. Personal holiness of life is never good enough and must never be trusted in before God. To trust in one's sanctification for acceptance is to repeat the original sin of Satan. This is the sin of Laodicea, to trust in one's sanctification for acceptance before God. The sin of Laodicea is the sin of the final Antichrist.

To trust in one's sanctification is the sin of the Man of Sin. The last deception will be to believe that the Holy Spirit in the heart can make us acceptable before the glory of God. This is the false holy spirit which Satan will breath upon all who refuse to believe the gospel. This false holiness movement will cause all the world to wonder after, be deceived by, and receive the "mark of the Beast."

God's true people will receive the seal of God's approval because they continually confess their own unholiness and trust only in the holiness that is in the person of Jesus Christ. This holiness is imputed to all repentant sinners who believe. Only Christ can answer the highest demands of the Law of God for us. He alone is worthy.

On the other hand, there will always be those who misuse the free grace of God to excuse worldliness and open sin and rebellion. Those who think that justification by grace alone through faith will allow them to lower the standard of holiness and purity are sadly deceived. Quite the opposite is true.

Those who glory in the cross of Christ will be the foremost defenders of the Law of God and the high standard of holiness to which all believers are called. The work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer will continually call us to higher ground and to holier, more devout commitment to Christ. There is no room in the life of the converted Christian for the enjoyment of the pleasures of worldliness such as Hollywood movies, theater going, the love of money, gluttony, drunkenness, worldly ambition, racism, child abuse, raucous party going, contemporary "Christian" rock and roll music, amusement parks, pride of appearance, and immodesty of dress. Those who would misuse the Gospel to enjoy the continual viewing of murder, rape, violence, vulgarity, greed, and impiety on the television screen will eventually grieve away the tender pleadings of the Holy Spirit and they will reap what they have sown, including the possible loss of eternal life itself. The word of God is a two edged sword of the Law of God and the Gospel of Christ. The two must be distinguished but never separated.

BUT having said all this about the continual need for striving after personal holiness of life, all Christians must continually confess that we are unprofitable servants and that our sanctification is far short of the perfection that was revealed in the sinless life of our Lord Jesus Christ who lived and died and arose again for our justification through His infinite righteousness. No one who loves the Gospel will love the sin that caused the precious life of the Son of God to be offered upon the cross that we might be forgiven and saved unto eternal life in God's kingdom. To all believers the word of God declares that we are to earnestly pursue holiness of life without which no one will see God. Be not deceived God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows that also shall he reap. Blessings to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Present Truth Magazine Home Page   Article List   Next Article