STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS: Church History did not begin with the birth of Billy Graham!! Because the Bible has not changed through the centuries, what it teaches has not changed either. I have found that although those who were the titans of the faith in the past were never infallible (nor did they ever claim to be), it is arrogant in the extreme to think that we who live in the 21st century cannot learn anything from the gifted teachers God gave to His church in times past. The ascended Christ dispensed gifts to His church (Eph 4:8-12). These gifts were apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; men of God, who often upon the threat of death, labored intensely to understand and proclaim the God breathed Scriptures in order to instruct, guide and nourish the people of God. Though now having departed the world's stage, these gifts of Christ can still bless us today through their writings! This quote (below) from the 1689 Westminister Confession of Faith is a rich and detailed summary of what the Bible teaches on the subject of justification, with every word crafted with care and precision. - JS
I. Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christâ€™s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.
II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.
III. Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real and full satisfaction to His Fatherâ€™s justice in their behalf. Yet, in as much as He was given by the Father for them; and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead; and both, freely, not for any thing in them; their justification is only of free grace; that both the exact justice, and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification: nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit does, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.
V. God does continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under Godâ€™s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.
VI. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.See More