Five Heavy Words
Discussion of the means of our redemption, a major issue during the 16th century Reformation, is never out of date. Christians today must know the means by which we are saved. Several of the terms overlap in meaning, but point to the same divine action.
Justification How are you, a sinner, justified and brought into a right relationship before a righteous God? By the merits of the wholly righteous Son of God who offered himself as a propitiation or expiation for the sins of the whole world. Some would say forensic sacrifice. This unmerited gift is imputed or imparted to an individual at baptism.
Sanctification Although we are also sanctified at baptism, what usually is meant is the growth in holiness that follows baptism. The Christian matures in faith and practice while living in the context of Christ’s Eucharistic body, the Church. This is an infused gift of Grace.
Righteousness We have none of our own devising. All righteousness is a gift of God, imputed to us from Christ’s righteousness. Thus we can stand before God as redeemed sinners in a right relationship with God. We cannot earn righteousness by good deeds. St. Paul is very clear on this.
Redemption We are redeemed from our lost selves by Christ’s oblation of himself once offered for the sins of the whole world. Some would say a substitutionary sacrifice. Christ’s resurrection then completes our salvation.
Atonement Our at-one-ment with God is obtained by the self offering of the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Our sins treated as non-existent, as never having occurred, after our repentance and the confession of them. By the pure offering of Christ we thus are reconciled to God.
Labels: Bishop Shipps