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Page 248

Does justification refer to a person's state or to his condition? In this story, do you think Mr. Thompson would be justified in court only if he changed his life style from a motive of deep thankfulness to the rich friend? Why or why not?

Define both justification and sanctification. While these two are distinct graces, can a sinner receive the one without the other? Why or why not?

    Mr. Thompson tremblingly entered the courtroom. The business he had tried to establish had not done well. His creditor had filed charges in court for the $12,000 he owed him.

    After the facts pertaining to his case were examined, Mr. Thompson was asked to take the stand and justify himself; but he could not. He simply stated, "Your Honor, these facts are true. I owe the $12,000 in full, but I do not have any money with which to pay. I must pay but I can't!"

    "Mr. Thompson," the judge replied, "I have no choice but to declare you guilty and responsible to pay the amount due in full. The law cannot do otherwise."

    After hearing this pronouncement, a rich business friend stepped forward with the following request: "Your Honor, I would like to pay in full the total amount owed by this man."

    "Why would you wish to do that?" the surprised judge asked.

    "Because he is my friend," was the reply.

    The rich friend then wrote a cheque for the full $12,000; it was certified to be true; and upon this basis, the judge declared the full account to be settled and Mr. Thompson was spoken free.

    Did Mr. Thompson earn his justification or did he receive it by free grace? How does this story illustrate the justification of a sinner by the merits of Jesus Christ? How was the payment required from Jesus Christ far greater and deeper than that required from the rich friend in this story?

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