Turretin on Justification

Although our justification will be fully declared on the last day (our good works also being brought forward as the sign and proof of its truth, Mt. 25:34-40), still falsely would anyone maintain from this a twofold gospel justification – one from faith in this life (which is the first); the other (and second) from works on the day of judgment (as some hold, agreeing too much with Romanists on this point). 

Turretin, Institutes, Volume 3, p. 687

It is times like these that I wish Turretin’s Institutes were available in the public domain (preferably in electronic, online format), or at least cheaper than $70 and more widely accessible.  His comments on this issue are so relevant to the FV controversies today, as are his expositions of a wide range of doctrines.  His treatments of justifying faith, the nature of covenant and covenant membership, the church, and the marks of the church all serve as a rebuke of various FV teachings.  And it is no different for his discussion of justification and final judgment.  He continues:

The sentence to be pronounced by the supreme Judge will not be so much a new justification, as the solemn and public declaration of a sentence once passed and its execution by the assignment of the life promised with respect to an innocent person from the preceding justification.  Thus it is nothing else than an adjudicatory sentence of the possession of the kingdom of heaven from the right given before through justification.  And if works are then brought forward, they are not adduced as the foundation of a new justification to be obtained then, but as signs, marks and effects of our true faith and of our justification solely by it.

Here we find a stark contrast to the Federal Vision’s doctrine of final justification.  Bob Mattes has outlined Peter Leithart’s position (along with refutations from various sources) in this article.  Leithart claims:

…the [Westminster] Confession says explicitly that what we receive at the final judgment will be “according to what they have done,” which is clearly something other than the “perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone.”

This echos Rich Lusk’s view:

Again, we find the Bible teaching that future justification is according to works. Final justification is to the (faithful) doers of the law (Rom. 2:1ff) and by those good works which make faith complete (Jas. 2:14ff). Justification will not be fully realized until the resurrection.

 I say:  stick with the old, dead guys like Berkhof and Turretin.

Posted by David Gadbois

Knowing About Commentators

Finally, a book that will give you some perspective on a particular commentator of the Bible. Over 100 interpreters have been treated in this book. We still need a gigantic reference work that will give us a small snapshot of almost every biblical interpreter. But, this book is a good start.