Declared Righteous



gavelI so enjoyed my time today with the teachers of Salem Baptist Church! What an exciting group of teachers! The people of Salem are blessed richly to have so many people interested in becoming better expositors of the word of God.

As we worked our way through Romans, I was reminded of just how significant Christ’s work of justification is for us, especially in 3:21-26.

Justification is the forensic act by which a sinner comes to stand before God as righteous both actually and declaratively. The righteousness God provides is an alien righteousness—it comes from outside of the sinner rather than from within. By “actually,” we mean the Scriptures teach that the sinner is constituted righteous by having Christ’s righteousness imputed to him. By “declaratively,” we mean that Scripture teaches that the sinner is declared righteous before God as a judge in a courtroom declares the status of a criminal.

In declarative justification, the Judge makes a declaration: The sinner is declared righteous although the sinner is guilty.

Declared righteousness differs from judgment in the Western judicial system in the following: It is not simply an (1) acquittal (to rule not guilty), (2) a pardon (to forgive someone of an offense), (3) an exoneration (to free someone from accusation, blame, or responsibility), and that (4) it is based upon absolute truth. This stands in contrast to the Roman Catholic view, in which justification includes the expulsion of indwelling sin, the positive infusion of divine grace, and the forgiveness of sin. For Rome, justification is the infusion of new virtues after the pollution of sin has been removed in baptism. In Catholic teaching, the grace of justification can be lost, but also can be regained by the sacrament of penance.

Imagine walking into a courtroom in an orange jumpsuit with your hands and feet shackled, and with two Federal Marshals flanking you, because you are guilty of crimes. There is fingerprint and video surveillance evidence, eyewitness and your possession of tools used to commit crimes, and you have made an uncoerced confession. You are guilty. Yet, with all of the evidence stacked against you, the judge renders a verdict: “I declare you righteous [even though you are guilty.]” God, the Judge of all the earth, makes this declaration for sinners on the basis of the righteousness of his Son alone. This is the work of justification; this is mercy; this is reason to shout and to praise our Savior.


  1. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Sovereign Purpose (Banner of Truth)
  2. Kent Hughes, Romans: God’s Saving Righteousness (Crossway)
  3. Douglas Moo, Romans: The NIV Application Commentary (Zondervan)

Understand Our Struggles: Read The Warmth of Other Suns


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the-warmth-of-other-sunsDear Friend,

You have been kind enough to ask me loving, sensitive, sympathetic, and well-intended questions as it relates to the most recent police shootings of African Americans. If you want your heart broken over the issues facing African Americans, by means of exploring the history of this country and race, I would encourage you to read The Warmth of Other Suns. Within the last two months, I have recommended this book to more than a handful of kind friends like you.

Many African American families of my generation or older grew up knowing stories like the ones in this book, often with respect to the experience of a relative. In an Honor/Shame community such as ours, stories like the ones in Warmth are the fuel for both encouraging our children to excel in school and work, and for making us cautious, if not cynical, about what goes on in this country regarding race. Yes, I know that the Cross and the Empty Tomb are the warp-and-woof of the solution to problems of race in America. Also know, however, every church-going African American, at least my age or older, grows up with a form of these stories turning our engines, and contributing to the filter(s) by which we see everything.

Reading a book like Warmth might help you understand why just one racial incident makes the majority of our community respond as if someone has threatened us with nuclear war or genocide. No one else in this country has faced what African Americans have faced since their inception as an American people. No one ethnic or self-identified social group faces today what African Americans have endured for the last 500 years in America.

Enjoy the book!


Related: “7 Books on the White-Black Racial Divide You Should Read




Celebrating Union with Christ: Blogging Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, Part 17


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[4] There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—[5] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:4-6 ESV)

mystery1Paul’s exhortation to the church for practical unity recognizes that the oneness inherent in the body is reflective of the oneness inherent in the Trinity. He says three things:

  1. Although we are individual members of the body of Christ, we all are united mysteriously by the Holy Spirit so that our hope as believers remains certain, 4:4.
  1. As we each have called on the same Lord for salvation by being given the same faith to call on Him, we have experienced spiritual baptism, which mysteriously places us together in Him, which is in His body, which is in one another, 4:5 (cf. Rom. 12:5; I Cor. 12:12-13).
  1. Ephesians by Eric RedmondWhile having the authority of Christ and His fullness, we are under the sovereign rule of God the Father – as both Christ and the Spirit work voluntarily within the Trinity – as He rules through Christ through us all, being in the Spirit who is in us all, and being over, through and in the entire Creation, 4:6.

The incredible mystery of our union with Christ–union with the Trinity, union with the Creator–is reason to celebrate our hope, enjoy the fellowship of the body, and to submit to the sweet sovereignty of God in all things.

Knowing the Bible: Ephesians (Crossway) is available at

#whybible  #ktbeph  #ktbephesians  #ephesians  #biblestudy  #moodybible  #MBI

Remembering 9/11 on the 15th Anniversary


1-world-trade-centerMay the Lord show every kindness to those who experienced a lost on 9/11. May his name be exalted as we embrace the joys of this short and fragile life. May 9/11 remind us to prepare to meet the Son of God, who died for sin and rose again, defeating death, so that he might provide life, righteousness, and comfort to all who trust in him. May God grant us wisdom to know that at any moment we are but one breath away from our last. May the Judge of all the earth bring to justice all terrorists determined to destroy civil society, and do so with mercy–with the mercy that rises as sets on us each day. May you come quickly, Lord Jesus.

A Mysterious Interruption: Blogging Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, Part 16

images         For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—(Eph. 3:1)

         I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called (Eph. 4:1)

Paul’s discussion on his stewardship of the mystery of the Gospel is so significant that he must interrupt his intention to tie the walk of the believer to Christ’s work in salvation; (e.g., “walk” in 2:10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15). The phrase in 4:1, “I… a prisoner of the Lord,” carried over from 3:1, “I… a prisoner of Christ Jesus,” indicates that 4:2-6:24 originally would have followed 2:22. The flow still works if you skip 3:1-21.

Ephesians by Eric RedmondHowever, by inserting the discussion of 3:2-31, the walk of the believer now relates to the revelation of the equal spiritual footing of Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ (3:6). It also means Paul intends for the believer to be empowered by the prayer and truth of 3:14-21: We must know the love of Christ deeply and increasingly in order to accomplish the life of the believer (4:1-6:9), and we must know the love of Christ deeply and increasingly in order to to stand in the warfare being waged from the heavenlies (6:10).

Temple of the Trinity: Blogging Through Eph. in 150 Words or Less, Part 15



IMG_3322[18] For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. [19] So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, [21] in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. [22] In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18-22 ESV)

How exciting it is to think that we will be a temple for the Trinity! The Lord will dwell in us as he dwelt in the Tabernacle (Exodus 40) and in the first Temple (1 Kings 8). He will reside in us in the fullness of the Trinity’s glory. His glory never will leave that temple.

Ephesians by Eric RedmondMaybe even more exciting is that the Lord presently is building believers into that Temple. We therefore are seeking practical unity across ethnic lines while yet under construction (Eph. 2:11-17). The picture of what we will be is buffering until he comes.

The Trinity on Each Page: Blogging Through Eph. in 150 Words or Less, Part 14


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TrinityQ. 6. How many persons are there in the Godhead?  A. There are three persons in the one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. (Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English)

In Eph. 1:3-4 and 1:13, the full Trinity participates in the work of salvation, choosing the redeemed for salvation in eternity past, redeeming us effectively through the death of Christ, and sealing us until final redemption appears. All three Members give divine wisdom for believer to live out the practical aspects of being assured, wealthy, and empowered in Christ—to do works that only can be done in the power of the Spirit (1:17; 5:18-20).

The Three appear when speaking of our access to God and the Temple to come (2:18,20); they work to reveal the love of God in Christ, deeply, to the believers (3:14-17); the Three are the basis of the unity in the local body of Christ (4:4-5).

“Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” for their working for us and in us.  #ephesiansEphesians by Eric Redmond

A Prayer for Today’s Worship: Blogging Thru Eph. in 150 Words or Less, part 13


May the Name that is above every name be exalted in worship today. May our hearts overflow with thanksgiving, love, and fear before you, God, our Father. May the Spirit who has redeemed us fill us with power, joy, wisdom, and meekness.

Lord, would you be pleased to make your presence known among your people today, that we might grow closer into the likeness of the temple into which, in Christ, you are building us to be a dwelling place of the Spirit. Would you give us grace to put to death the sins we treasured when we were children destined for your wrath. Would you draw each heart to you in song and prayer without hindrance or fear of the faces of people.

Today, kindly and powerfully scatter your enemy and his schemes of war against us. In us, magnify and glorify Christ – crucified, raised, and returning – that billions without him, both near and far, might hear the Gospel and know Christ in mercy.

Authority of the Church: Blogging Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, part 12


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Church in SocietyOn page 22 of the KTB Ephesians Study Guide I write,

AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH. Throughout the history of Christianity, church and earthly authorities have existed largely in con ict with one another. This is true whether we speak of governing authorities that separate church and state jurisdictions or general secular authorities that promote worldviews rejecting the message and morality the church proclaims. Nevertheless, Scripture dem- onstrates that Christ calls the church to be an expression of his rule in the pres- ent world. Yet this means of expression combines moral courage with humble citizenship, unity with love, and holiness with wisdom, so that transformed lives give evidence of the power of the gospel.

Ephesians by Eric RedmondWe would provide a wise witness in the world if we walked in the authority Christ provides to the church.


The Message that Stands: Blogging Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, 11


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LighthouseWe hear many messages in our society. Political messages and their spin seek our votes and corporate trust. Retail advertising messages seek to get us to purchase the next must-have product. Cultural message wish to convince us of a progressive or regressive position on social change. Social media sells the ideas that vanity, egotism, attention-grabbing, and speaking and bearing all without shame are to be valued above moderation, mystery, cordiality, and meekness.

From many corners we hear that the United States is great, without any reference to problems related to economic inequalities, systemic injustices, and moral vicissitude. Never mind those blights; the message seems to be that Uncle Sam is standing tall, the Bald Eagle soars, Lady Liberty’s torch shines bright, and Old Glory will wave strong until the world’s end. Ephesians by Eric Redmond

Above those messages, “the word of truth—the gospel of your salvation” stands (Eph. 1:13). We do well to call everyone to give attention to this message.