White Horse Inn Modern Reformation

What Is Justification?


Michael Horton

Release date:

January 5, 2020



Michael Horton’s two-volume set on Justification was recently awarded Christianity Today’s book of the year award in the category of Theology / Ethics. As a way of celebrating this important achievement, throughout this month we’ll be airing a series of conference addresses which Dr. Horton recently gave on this crucial doctrine. In this first address, Dr. Horton presents a biblical overview of justification and discusses contemporary challenges to it.


“The problem is a lot of people who don’t believe in justification also don’t believe in the wrath of God.  They really don’t believe that God judges.  What they believe is God is nice, I’m nice, so let’s be nice.  That’s their religion.  It’s relational.  It’s not legal and therefore justification has to be about restoring the relationship.  It’s not about some legal mumbo jumbo.  And you have left wing versions of it and right wing versions of it.”

Michael Horton



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 them as righteous, not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone. They are not justified because God reckons as their righteousness either their faith, their believing, or any other act of evangelical obedience. They are justified wholly and solely because God imputes to them Christ’s righteousness. He imputes to them Christ’s active obedience to the whole law and His passive obedience in death. They receive Christ’s righteousness by faith, and rest on Him. They do not possess or produce this faith themselves, it is the gift of God.

(Taken from the 1689 London Baptist Confession, Chapter 11, Section 1)

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