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sight; but by nature they are born children of wrath, included in Adam, and under the curse of the law. Therefore, a change of states is required in their lives - personal justification is required.

In the moment of regeneration, the sinner is personally cut off from the dead tree, Adam, and engrafted into the living tree, Jesus Christ. This exchange of states is subjective; it personally places him in a new relationship to God's law. Christ's full payment and perfect righteousness are personally imputed to him and he is fully justified, his sins are pardoned, and he is entitled to enter eternal life as an adopted son of God.

The receipt of saving faith differs, however, from the exercise of saving faith; the essence of faith is not the assurance of faith; the personal application of Christ's merits to a person is different from the personal appropriation of Christ's merits by that person. It is one thing to be in possession of God's justifying grace and it is another to be assured of one's possession of God's justifying grace. These contrasts underscore the differences between personal justification in the moment of regeneration and in the tribunal of one's conscience. (For additional information regarding distinctions between the essence and assurance of faith, refer to the appropriate sections in the previous chapter.)

The difference between possessing, and being assured of, ustification is illustrated by the following examples:

    A king signed a pardon for a certain prisoner condemned to die. That prisoner is officially pardoned; he has a legal right to freedom signed by the king.

    This prisoner had previously heard of the graciousness of the king and his promise to pardon miserable criminals who plead with him for forgiveness. Knowledge of his guilt and faith in the king's graciousness have urged the condemned man to seek and plead for mercy with the king.

    He believes in the king's graciousness; but "Will he be willing to save me?" is his deepest question, hope, and fear. At times, his faith is more lively and he is more hopeful; at other times, faith is less active and he is more discouraged. When looking at his own guilt and sentence, all seems hopeless; but when viewing the graciousness of the king, he is encouraged.


For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

- Romans 11:16-18

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

- Matthew 7:17-20


  • Appropriation - The act of claiming for oneself; declaring that one has legal possession

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