Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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From Justification to Glory- the Revealing of the Sons of God

March 7th, 2010 · No Comments

In this study, Dr. Hartmann begins with a re-statement of the glorious truth of justification by faith, presenting evidence that Paul’s teaching on justification was based on insights he had gained from Isaiah 53, in which a connection is drawn between the Servant “justifying the many” and Him “bearing their iniquities”. This connection was not lost upon the apostle Paul, who developed these ideas at length in the argument of Romans 1-5. Simply put, Paul teaches that Christ bore our iniquities in His Cross and that we as a result are justified before the Divine Court. This wonderful truth of justification based on Christ’s death as the Sin-bearer is found in both Rom 5:1-11 and 8:31-39, thus functioning as “bookends” for Paul’s in depth exposition of the full grace of the gospel in Romans 5-8.

Justification by faith thus constitutes the entry point onto the road that leads to final salvation for those who endure in faith and the pursuit of holiness. Justification will also be important at the end. All must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to be recompensed for the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). The judgment will determine two things: 1) the reward (or, as the case may be, loss of reward) of the justified; 2) the final ratification of God’s verdict of justification based on Christ’s death.

The “end game” of God’s purpose in the plan of redemption is found in texts like Hebrews 2:10 and Romans 8:29-30. God is bringing many sons to glory. Paul’s thought is that those whom God justifies, He also glorifies. This does not mean that sanctification is unimportant; to the contrary it seems to indicate that in Paul’s thought sanctification necessarily follows for those who truly have been justified by faith, this being based on Paul’s understanding of our union with Christ and the gift of the Spirit we receive as the first fruits of the coming full inheritance as sons of God. These ideas are again developed in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, which indicates that God calls us through the gospel to the end that we might “gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Colossians 3:4 indicates that the justified, at Christ’s return, will be revealed together with Him in glory. Paul more fully unpacks this idea of our “co-revelation” as sons of God together with Christ in Romans 8:14-30, where we find the true message of “Liberation Theology”: the whole creation groans and travails in anxious longing and eager expectation as it awaits the revelation of the sons of God together with Christ in all of His glory, at which point the whole creation will be set free from futility and bondage in association with the emergence of the new collective Adam in Christ.

All of this behooves us, the redeemed, to live lives that are “pleasing to the Lord”, “holy and blameless” and “worthy of the God Who calls us to His kingdom and glory”. Our teacher exhorts us to renew our absolute devotion to the Lord with daily prayer, meditation in the Word, and the cultivation of faithfulness in the use of our gifts, so that the Lord at the end will not call us “wicked and slothful bond-slaves”, but “good, faithful, and sensible” ones, who then enter the joy of their Lord.

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