149 Are All Men Justified and Saved Because of This Righteousness of the Son of God?
- The way is broad that leads to damnation, and there are many that walk in it. Mt 7:13.
- [PAR – Here Chemnitz asks the very specific question: “Are all men justified?” He makes no distinctions, as modern theologians have done. He does not speak of an “objective sense” in which all men are justified, and then a “subjective sense” in which only believers are justified. Nothing of the sort. He simply responds to this simple question with a simple answer, “There are many who walk on the way that leads to damnation.” In other words, “No, not all men are justified. Far from it.”]
150 What, Then is the Reason? Did Christ Not Make Satisfaction for All? or Does the Heavenly Father Not Want This Benefit to Be Common to All?
- The cause or fault of damnation is by no means to be ascribed to God. For Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, 1 Jn 2:2. And the will of God is that no one should perish, but that all be saved. 1 Ti 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9; Eze 18:23; Mt 18:14. But it is by the fault of men that not all are saved, because not all accept that benefit. Jn 1:5, 10–11; 3:19. For it is necessary that the benefit or merit of Christ become ours (Ro 8:32), that is, that it be applied to us, so that each one accept and apprehend it (Jn 1:12), and thus Christ be in us (Jn 6:56) and we be found in Him (Ph 3:8–9).
- [PAR – Certainly Christ made atonement for the sins of the whole world, according to Chemnitz. And certainly God wants all men to be saved. Those who are not saved have only themselves to blame for not accepting “that benefit.” And what is “that benefit” that they do not all accept? “The benefit or merit of Christ,” that is, the righteousness of Christ and the satisfaction for sins that has been made by Christ. That is what is offered to men in the Gospel and applied to those who have faith.]
151 By What Means is Christ, or the Merit of Christ, Applied to Us?
- For that application two things are absolutely required: First, that God, through the Holy Spirit set forth, offer, present, and give to us that benefit. For this purpose God has established a certain means or instrument, namely the word of the Gospel and the Sacraments. That means is, as it were, the hand of God, which He extends and opens to us, offering and presenting to us the merit and benefits of His Son for our salvation. Ro 10:17; 2 Co 5:19–20; Titus 3:5.
- [PAR – So according to Chemnitz, in order for justification to take place, the merit of Christ must be applied to the sinner. The first necessary element in this application is the Means of Grace. Through the Means of Grace (“the word of the Gospel and the Sacraments”), God’s own hand extends to us sinners and offers and presents to us the merit and benefits of Jesus. The merit and benefits of Christ are complete for all. The righteousness of Christ is valid for all. But “justification,” that is, “the righteousness of Christ applied to sinner,” only comes through the Means of Grace. It does not occur without the Means of Grace as Chemnitz defines justification.]
The other thing that is required for application is that we apprehend, receive, and apply to ourselves the benefit of the sons of God that is offered and presented to us in the Word and the Sacraments; this is done by no other means or instruments than faith. Ro 1:17; 3:28; 4:5; Jn 3:15–16; Gl 3:22, 24. For faith is, as it were, our hand with which we take, apprehend, and accept the benefits of Christ. Jn 1:12. And it is a kind of bond by which we are bound to Christ, that He might be and dwell in us (Eph 3:17) and that we might be found in Him (Ph 3:8–9).
- [PAR – Faith alone receives the benefits of Christ offered in the Means of Grace. Again, the “benefits of Christ” is not “the justification of the world.” Nowhere does Chemnitz assert such a thing. No, the “benefits of Christ” which the hand of faith receives is the perfect obedience of Christ and the innocent death of Christ. This faith, says Chemnitz, is the bond that unites us to Christ. This is the one and only way in which Chemnitz speaks of justification taking place – only by faith in Christ.]