The Cross – The Only Ground of Justification
The cross is the only ground of Justification in all dispensations. We hold that the saints who lived before the death of Jesus were justified on the ground of the work which He had undertaken to perform; while those that have lived since are justified on the ground of His actually accomplished work, and that thus the cross of Jesus lays the one, all-sufficient and most glorious foundation for the salvation of the whole election of grace (Luke 10:24; John 8:56; Hebrews 9:4 and 13; Revelation 13:8; Romans 3:25, “Whom God hath set forth” in the covenant before time, and now, declaratively in the proclamation of the gospel, “to be a propitiation through faith in His blood; to declare His righteousness,” in two most momentous particulars.
First “For the remission of sins that are past,” that is to say, in respect to His pardoning sins that had taken place before Jesus died.
Secondly, “to declare at this time His righteousness” in justifying sinners who have lived since; “that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
The Cross is the eternal vindication of God’s righteousness in His displays of grace. He has poured out His righteous wrath upon sin, in order that He might pour the everlasting beams of His favour on chosen sinners. Psalm 32:1, Psalm 71:16; Romans 4:2; Isaiah 38:17).
“Thus Abraham, the friend of God,
Thus all the armies bought with blood,
Saviour of sinners, Thee proclaim,
Sinners—of whom the chief I am.”