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Page 259


    had that I have not paid for? If not, then I declare him to be free from his debts. Release him."

    Turning to the amazed orphan boy, the king said, "Come with me. I will care for you. I want to adopt you as my son."

    The ragged, debt-ridden orphan boy suddenly became a respected, rich prince -an adopted son of the king. He received all the rights and privileges of a king's son.


    Did the orphan boy earn or deserve his pardon and adoption? Was the orphan's "justification" one of merit or of grace? How does this story illustrate the two parts of justification? How is it similar to, and how does it differ from, God's justification of undeserving sinners?


Every saved person becomes a child of God in the following two-fold sense:

    1. Spiritual sense -By spiritual birth; being born again by God's spirit in regeneration

    2. Legal sense -By legal adoption; being adopted into God's family of saved children in justification

Becoming a child of God includes the person in all the legal rights of children. It makes him a rightful heir of God and entitles him to all the blessings of salvation, both in temporal and eternal life.

Both the spiritual and legal sense of sonship of a child of God occur at the same time. In the moment of regeneration, an exchange of states takes place. From God's side, each person's regeneration and justification takes place together. The born-again sinner is pardoned from all sin, and receives a legal title to eternal life as a child of God.

Who can properly define the exchange of states which takes place in regeneration and justification? The previously-described ragged, debt-ridden, guilty orphan boy becoming a respected, rich, free prince through the king's gracious pronouncement cannot

Is a sinner's justification of merit or of grace?



 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear: but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.

- Romans 8:14-17

But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name:

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

- John 1:12-13

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

- Galatians 4:5-7

 

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