Justification - A most precious doctrine

Justification - Defined
Justification is the doctrine that God pardons, accepts, and declares a sinner to be "just" on the basis of Christ's righteousness (Rom 3:24-26; 4:25; 5:15-21) which results in God's peace (Rom 5:1), His Spirit (Rom 8:4), and salvation. Justification is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ apart from all works and merit of the sinner (cf. Rom 1:18-3:28).

Double imputation
Double Imputation is a doctrine related to Justification, which views the concept of imputation as applying both to Christ and believers. On the one hand, our sins are imputed to Christ who bore them on the cross. On the other hand, Christ's righteousness is imputed to believers whereby they are seen by God as cloaked in the righteousness of Christ. Justification, in this view, is based on Christ's propitiatory sacrifice as well as his personal righteousness imputed to believers, not any righteousness inherent or infused in man.



Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering. In relation to soteriology, propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

In Rom. 3:25 and Heb. 9:5 the Greek word hilasterion (KJV, "mercy-seat") is used. It is the word employed by the Septuagint (LXX). translators in Ex. 25:17 and elsewhere as the equivalent for the Hebrew kapporeth, which means "covering," and is used of the lid of the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:21; 30:6). Hilasterion came to denote not only the mercy-seat or lid of the ark, but also propitiation or reconciliation by blood. On the great day of atonement the high priest carried the blood of the sacrifice he offered for all the people within the veil and sprinkled with it the "mercy-seat," and so made propitiation.

In 1 John 2:2; 4:10, Christ is called the "propitiation for our sins." Here a different Greek word is used, hilasmos. Christ is "the propitiation," because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations he expiated our guilt, covering it by the vicarious punishment which he endured. (Compare Heb. 2:17, where the expression "make reconciliation" of the KJV is more correctly in the ASV "make propitiation")
Key Verses (also in the definitions above)

Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 4:20-25 :

[Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

Romans 5:15-21
But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Comment: Several key points.

  • Abraham did not inherit justification. He was born a sinner like all mankind. 
  • As an adult he had to by faith trust the promises of God
  • The Law nor good works saved Abraham
  • Men are called upon to admit our sinfulness, helplessness and lostness AND\
  • Call upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation
  • That faith act results in justification. 


The man behind Black Lives Matter St. Paul is a slacker sucking on society

Meet the man behind Black Lives Matter St. Paul


He .. graduated from Hamline University in 2008 with a degree in criminal justice.

But he says as he started real-world police skills training and applied for the Brooklyn Park force, he had a change of heart. He said it wasn't the job he'd seen as an intern. "I was able to get that inside look at the police department," he said. "I was able to see a lot of good officers working, and that gave me a good image of what police, what policing should look like, but again, when I started the skills academy, I didn't see that same image. The focus being so much on using force and deadly force just sort of turned me off to being a police officer."

Instead, he got a jobs as a cultural liaison at the White Bear Lake school district and most recently a Scholars Program organizer with Century College. But his job was cut, and he's been on unemployment as he's worked to start the Black Lives Matter chapter in St. Paul.
Comment: Advice:

  • You've received a good education!
  • Use your time to find and hold a job!
  • Instead of disrupting the lawful activities of others!
I'm not opposed to the legitimately unemployed receiving benefits, but this man is a rabble-rouser who should be working! Per Google the unemployment rate in Saint Paul is 3.7%. He should be able to quickly find a job!

Media: Stop giving killers the "limelight"

'The more people you kill, the more you're in the limelight'


The Oregon college gunman who murdered at least nine people has been named as _______________ - a 26-year-old who celebrated other mass murderers, attended a school for students with 'emotional issues' and said: 'The more people you kill, the more you're in the limelight'.

The killer, whose father is British and said he idolized the IRA and Nazis, on Thursday walked into Umpqua Community College in Roseburg wearing body armor and carrying three handguns and a rifle before shooting dead nine students and wounding nine more. Witnesses said he had made his victims stand-up and say if they were Christian before telling them: 'Good, you'll see God in a second' and shooting them in the head. If students answered anything other than Christian they were shot in the body. After his bloody rampage was reported to police he was then killed in a gunfight with officers with one source saying: 'He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate'.

Oregon gunman left angry note glorifying mass killers


The 26-year-old gunman in the deadly shooting spree in southern Oregon is believed to have left behind a document that glorified mass killings and bitterly referred to his lonely existence with few human contacts outside the Internet, a law enforcement official said Friday.

'You will never hear me say his name,' sheriff says of Roseburg school shooter


The Douglas County sheriff says he will never utter the name of the man responsible for the deadly attack at Umpqua Community College and has called on news media to do the same. "Let me be very clear: I will not name the shooter." Sheriff John Hanlin said during a Thursday night briefing at a fire station near the Roseburg campus. "I will not give him credit for this horrific act of cowardice."

Comment: There's some common sense from Sheriff Hanlin - let's celebrate heroes and disregard  cowards ! Imagine ... with 10 bullets one can go from anonymity to celebrity. Nobody flunkies with a mental kink and hate have followed that path! In our age, one kills, and the President holds a news conference.


In Evil's Path - What Should One Do?

  • Acknowledge the reality of evil. Shooters may additionally be depressed, mentally ill, et cetera; but there is evil in the world, there are evil people, and evil people will do evil things. In history - Hitler (his just end in the decade of my birth). Today: ISIS. The mass shooters who are apparently Nihilistic in their worldview. There is a character from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, a dark lord named Darth Nihilus was a reference to the Nihilism ideology as he devoured entire planets and did not care for living things at all.
  • Know that we live in a time when the days are evil and it is not likely to improve.
  • About gun control:
    • We live in a nation where 270 million firearms are possessed by civilians
    • Postulate #1: In the US, citizens have a right to own a gun
    • Postulate #2: Guns have a legitimate use including sport shooting, hunting and self defense 
    • Postulate #3: There is a place for legitimate vetting of potential gun buyers
    • Postulate #4: No mentally ill person should be issued a gun
    • Postulate #5: While the toll of gun violence is high, guns used in self defense have saved lives as well.
    • Postulate #6: It is utopian to think that 270,000,000 guns could be removed from the hands of the citizenry 
  • There is something about our society that is spawning young monsters. What to blame?
    • Violence in media including video games? 
    • The use of prescription and illegal drugs?
    • The moral relativism that pervades our society? (How few children are taught the 10 commandments today?!)
    • The worldview that man is of little consequence
  • What solutions do I offer?
    • Frankly I don't think demonizing the NRA (a favorite Obama target) is helpful
    • We need to understand that there are soft targets that attract evil mad men
    • A good man with a gun in the right place will deter evil men
    • See postulates # 3 and # 4 above
  • What can any one individual offer:
    • Be a true follower of Christ
    • Resist evil
    • Support law enforcement (Romans 13:1-6)
    • Expose falsehood (false worldviews) which lead to hopelessness
    • Pray for our communties

Emily - Gone but not Forgotten

From January 2013
October 1st 2015


  • She was born March 2001
  • And died today
  • She was a lovely, goofy, little pet
  • She was frequently on my lap
  • Often slept by my head
  • Would try to wake me up (most times successfully) by patting my face or pushing on my eyelid
  • Loved by Kathee, Loved by my children, Loved by my Brother. Loving to all!
  • I am grieving
September 2009

The universe is meant to make us feel small, to stand in silenced awe

Mars and the Majesty of Christ


The vastness and beauty of the Milky Way should elicit a response from us. That response should be neither one of pagan nature worship nor greedy utility, but of wonder and awe at Christ Jesus in his infinite vastness and immeasurable beauty. We should likewise marvel at the truth that a God in charge of galactic orbits chooses to live with and in us. We are not adopted into Christ despite our smallness, but indeed on account of it. If the unveiling of Christ was met with a dismissed, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (Jn. 1:46), should we really be surprised that God, at even the cosmic level, chooses what seems insignificant and tiny to display the paradox of the wisdom and power of God in Christ (1 Cor. 1:20-31)?

The universe is meant to make us feel small, to stand in silenced awe. The gospel, though, tells us that we have purpose and meaning, not by our strength or our power, but because we’re hidden in the One who was dead, and is now alive forever, the One for whom every galaxy, seen and unseen, was made as an inheritance.
Comment: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork" (Psalm 19:1)

The national anthem of Hell is 'I did it my way'


My Way - Lyrics

  • I memorized Invictus in high school and the mantra "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul" was my credo for several years. It's a good pick me up ... I can do it phrase / view that can move the needle from being a "C" student to a better student or from being dumped by a girl to "I'm going to stop crying and find another girlfriend".
  • About Frank Sinatra and My Way: I am a Frank fan and I like the song!
  • The "My way" / "Captain of my soul" works until one understands that God is the grantor of the soul and we are the grantee! As in the following
  • "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand." (Deuteronomy 32:39)
  • "What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?" (Psalm 89:48)
  • "Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust." (Psalm 104:29)
  • While still appreciating the expression of Henley's indomitable spirit, and hoping to have that same warrior mentality as I face my own trials; the "Captain of My Soul" view falls short when one is crumpled paralyzed on the ground after a spinal injury!
  • This quote is instructive: "The national anthem of Hell is 'I did it my way'.Peter Kreeft

Peter Kreeft is a brilliant apologist. Here's a helpful link to his writings.


Charles Hodge’s Letter to Pope Pius IX

Charles Hodge’s Letter to Pope Pius IX (1869)

Comment: Sharing this at this post-Pope Francis / US visit opportunity to underscore what Protestants and Catholics share in common and what divides. Only a brief excerpt is below. Readers are encouraged to read in entirety.


We receive all those doctrines concerning sin, grace and predestination, known as Augustinian, which doctrines received the sanction not only of the Council of Carthage and of other provincial Synods, but of the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus AD431, and of Zosimus, bishop of Rome.

We therefore cannot be pronounced heretics without involving in the same condemnation the whole ancient church.

Neither are we schismatics. We cordially recognize as members of Christ’s visible Church on earth, all those who profess the true religion together with their children. We are not only willing but earnest to hold Christian communion with them, provided they do not require, as conditions of such communion, that we profess doctrines which the Word of God condemns, or that we should do what the Word forbids. If in any case any Church prescribes such unscriptural terms of fellowship, the error and the fault is with that church and not with us.

But although we do not decline your invitation because we are either heretics or schismatics, we are nevertheless debarred from accepting it, because we still hold with ever increasing confidence those principles for which our fathers were excommunicated and pronounced accursed by the Council of Trent, which represented, and still represents, the Church over which you preside.
  1. The most important of those principles are: First, that the Word of God, contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. The Council of Trent, however, pronounces Anathema on all who do not receive the teachings of tradition pari pietatis affectu (with equal pious affection) as the Scriptures themselves. This we cannot do without incurring the condemnation which our Lord pronounced on the Pharisees, who made void the Word of God by their traditions (Matt. 15:6).
  2. Secondly, the right of private judgement. When we open the Scriptures, we find that they are addressed to the people. They speak to us. We are commanded to search them (John 5:39), to believe what they teach. We are held personally responsible for our faith. The apostle commands us to pronounce accursed an apostle or an angel from heaven who should teach anything contrary to the divinely authenticated Word of God (Gal. 1:8). He made us the judges, and has placed the rule of judgement into our hands, and holds us responsible for our judgements. Moreover, we find that the teaching of the Holy Spirit was promised by Christ not to the clergy only, much less to any one order of the clergy exclusively, but to all believers. It is written, ‘Ye shall all be taught of God.’ The Apostle John says to believers: ‘Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things . . . but the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him’ (1 John 2:20,27). This teaching of the Spirit authenticates itself, as this same apostle teaches us, when he says, ‘He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself (1 John 5:10). ‘I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth’ (1 John 2:21). Private judgement, therefore, is not only a right, but a duty, from which no man can absolve himself, or be absolved by others.
  3. Thirdly, we believe in the universal priesthood of all believers, that is, that all believers have through Christ access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph. 2:18); that we may come with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16); ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water’ (Heb. 10:19-22). To admit, therefore, the priesthood of the clergy, whose intervention is necessary to secure for us the remission of sin and other benefits of the redemption of Christ, is to renounce the priesthood of our Lord, or its sufficiency to secure reconciliation with God.
  4. Fourthly, we deny the perpetuity of apostleship. As no man can be an apostle without the Spirit of prophecy, so no man can be an apostle without the gifts of an apostle. Those gifts, as we learn from Scripture, were plenary knowledge of the truth derived from Christ by immediate revelation (Gal.s 1:12), and personal infallibility as teachers and rulers. What the seals of apostleship were Paul teaches us, when he says to the Corinthians, ‘Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds’ (2 Cor. 12:12). As for prelates who claim to be apostles, and who demand the same confidence in their teaching, and the same submission to their authority, as that which is due to the inspired messengers of Christ, without pretending to possess either the gifts or signs of the apostleship, we cannot submit to their claims. This would be rendering to erring men the subjection due to God alone or to his divinely authenticated and infallible messengers. Much less can we recognize the Bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ on earth, clothed with the authority over the Church and the world which was exercised by our Lord while here in the flesh. It is plain that no one can be the vicar of Christ who has not the attributes of Christ. To recognize the Bishop of Rome as Christ’s vicar is therefore virtually to recognize him as divine.
We must stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. We cannot forfeit our salvation by putting man in the place of God, giving one of like passions with ourselves the control of our inward and outward life which is due only to him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead. Other and equally cogent reasons might be assigned why we cannot with a good conscience be represented in the proposed Council. But as the Council of Trent, whose canons are still in force, pronounces all accursed who hold the principles above enumerated, nothing further is necessary to show that our declining your invitation is a matter of necessity
Comment: Image sources: Pope Pius IX. Charles Hodge.  Context provided below:
The text of a letter written by Charles Hodge of Princeton Theological Seminary on behalf of the two General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, explaining why the Pope’s invitation to Protestants to send delegates to the first Vatican Council of 1869-70 was being declined.


EMV in the US: Fraud Liability Shift

What is EMV


Starting on October 1, 2015, the liability shifts to businesses for fraudulent chip card transactions. This means if you accept a chip card with a magnetic stripe reader, you'll be responsible for the cost if the transaction is fraudulent.
Comment: Image capture from above link. EMV has been, with Apple Pay, the top projects of my wife who is a SME on EMV.


On the same day - The Pope and "Imagine" at the United Nations

Shakira Performs John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ at the United Nations


Pop superstar Shakira Mebarak performed a soulful rendition of “Imagine” at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, the same day Pope Francis made a historic appearance at the meeting. Shakira lent her signature vibrato the John Lennon song, which she dedicated to Aylan and Ghalib Kurdi, two young Syrian boys who drowned fleeing violence in their home country. “Our children have the right to equal opportunities, to thrive, to be happy and healthy and safe,” she said. “Now is the time to not just imagine, but do.”

Pope Francis Addresses U.N., Calling for Peace and Environmental Justice


With a passionate call from Pope Francis to choose environmental justice over a “boundless thirst for power and material prosperity,” world leaders on Friday adopted an ambitious agenda to reset their own priorities, from ending hunger to protecting forests to ensuring quality education for all.

“We want to change our world, and we can,” Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told a packed General Assembly hall.

The global goals, which emerged after three years of negotiations, are 17 in all. Known as the Sustainable Development Goals, they are not legally binding, and therefore not enforceable. But they carry a moral force of coercion, because they are adopted by consensus by the 193 member states of the United Nations.

They apply to all countries, not just poor ones, as was the objective of the last round of ambitions, called the Millennium Development Goals, which expired this year.

“The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere,” the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, told the General Assembly. Central to the new set of global goals, which extend to 2030, is the idea of caring for the planet and for the world’s poorest citizens, which was also at the heart of the pope’s address — his first at the United Nations.

“Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity,” Francis said, later reprising his argument that the poor are the biggest victims of environmental destruction. “A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and the disadvantaged,” he said.
Comment: Lyrics to Imagine below

Imagine there's no heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope some day you'll join us And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope some day you'll join us And the world will be as one
Comment: There's a lot of worldview in Lennon's lyric. In response Psalm 2 comes to mind: "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."


"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom"

This blog post pertains to "truth" and whether there is absolute truth. The above photos are of McMicken Hall at the University of Cincinnati. I graduated from U.C. in 1971 and while I was there became a believer in Christ as Messiah, Lord and Savior (1969)

McMicken was the business school main building while I was there. The topmost photo is from 1906 and the others more modern.  The Medici lions guard the main entrance. Above the main portico is a quote from Proverbs 4:7. Below in broader context:
He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. 10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
While I was there what the front of McMicken was basically the back. I rarely entered McMicken past Mic and Mack (the lions) and under the "wisdom" saying.

The quote is interesting from a historical perspective ... that 100 years ago the U.C. "Fathers" had a high view of the God of the Old Testament as a source of wisdom.

Worldview - "I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation"

Darwin letter reveals, "I do not believe in the Bible"

While many scholars believe Charles Darwin was an agnostic or even an atheist, it can be difficult to find hard evidence to back up those beliefs. He was reluctant to discuss religion and his writings are often silent on the issue. But now a simple one-sentence handwritten letter signed by the naturalist offers proof he did not believe in God. The letter, written 21 years after the publication of "The Origin of Species," was auctioned off Monday afternoon at Bonhams in New York. It fetched $197,000 at the auction, three times the previous record of $59,142 for a four-page letter that Darwin had penned to his niece. Darwin's letter is a reply to a young barrister named Francis McDermott, who wrote on November 23, 1880 with a very unusual request: "...If I am to have pleasure in reading your books I must feel that at the end I shall not have lost my faith in the New Testament. My reason in writing to you therefore is to ask you to give me a Yes or No to the question Do you believe in the New Testament."

McDermott continues by promising not to publicize Darwin's reply in the "theological papers."

The next day Darwin responded. He wasn't brusque but he was to the point and left no doubt about his beliefs, stating: "Dear Sir, I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God. Yours faithfully." McDermott promised not to publish the correspondence and he kept to his word. The letter was unknown to scholars for over 100 years.
Comment: It's called a presupposition