R.C. Sproul – What Does „Simul Justus et Peccator” Mean?

rc sproul 2via LigonierMinistries

Perhaps the formula that Luther used, that is most famous and most telling at this point is his formula „Simul Justus et Peccator”. If any formula sumarizes and captures the essence of the reformation view, it is this little formula. ‘Simul’ is the word for mwhich we get the English word simultaneously. Or, it means, at the same time. Justus is the latin word for just or righteous. Et means and. Peccator means sinner. And so, with this formula, Luther was saying: In our justification, we are one and the same time righteous or just and sinners.

Now, if he were to say that we are at the same time and in the same relationship just and sinners, that would be a contradiction in terms. But, that’s not what he was saying. He was saying: From one perspective, in one sense, we are just. In another sense, but, different perspective we are sinners.

How he defines that is simple. In, and of ourselves, under the analysis of God’s scrutiny, we still have sin. We’re still sinners. But, by imputation, and by faith in Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is now transferred to our account, then we are considered just, or righteous. This is the very heart of the Gospel. Will I be judged, in order to get into heaven, by my righteousness? Or by the righteousness of Christ? If I had to trust in my righteousness to get into heaven, I would completely and utterly despair of any possibility of ever being redeemed. But when we see that the righteousness that is ours by faith is the perfect righteousness of Christ, then we see how glorious is the good news of the Gospel.

The good news is simply this: I can be reconciled unto God, I can be justified by God, not on the basis of what I did, but on the basis of what’s been accomplished for me by Christ. But, at the heart of the Gospel is a double imputation. My sin is imputed to Jesus. His righteousness is imputed to me. And, in this twi fold transaction, we see that God, who does not negotiate sin, who doesn’t compromise His own integrity with our salvation, but, rather punishes sin fully and really, after it has been imputed to Jesus, retains His own righteousness and ‘HE IS both JUST and THE JUSTIFIER’, the apostle tells us here. So, my sin goes to Jesus, His righteousness comes to me, in the sight of God.

The Christian pursuit of godliness

The Hole in Our Holiness

Kevin DeYoung talks with Justin Taylor about the Christian pursuit of godliness:

Quote: There is a lack of emphasis in the evangelical world… a lack of emphasis on sanctification, personal holiness, so I think of Hebrews 12:14 to ‘seek the holiness without which we will not see the Lord’. I don’t see that kind of urgency, I am speaking to my own heart, my own congregation and self .. that without holiness we will not see the Lord. Most people would say, „That’s absolutely right, but that’s the imputed righteousness of Christ, which we certainly believe in with all our hearts, but, that’s no way what Hebrews 12 is talking about, because the context is discipline, the verbs are active- to strive and to seek, and I just don’t hear us with that sense of urgency about holiness. There’s this category of people who will not see the Lord without holiness and I want to be in the category to ‘see the Lord’…

Justin Taylor’s final question: Somebody’s watching this. They believe they should be holy and they wanna be holy, they wanna pursue righteousness, they want to not be in bondage to sin. They love Jesus, they keep falling in the same pattern. What would you say about how to pursue holiness and how to pursue the Lord?

Kevin gives some quick bullet points (@end of video):

  • Understanding motivation and how the Bible motivates us and sometimes we can just truncate it to just 1 or 2- maybe it’s gratitude, maybe it’s just justification. But, really, there are dozens and dozens of ways in which the Bible motivates us. It motivates us because of the fear of God, because of our acceptance before God, because of Jesus’ example, because of the love of the brothers, because of our witness to the church, because it pleases God. I think we’ve really lost the sense that we can grieve the Spirit, even as believers, we can live in a way that displeases God and we’ve lost sight of the opposite, that when you seek God, when you seek holiness, when you are growing in practical righteousness God is pleased. God smiles upon that.
  • To more fully incorporate the doctrine of the union with Christ. And, thankfully, there’s a lot of good things written now about union with Christ. But, I think the central tenet about sanctification in the New Testament is to be who you are. Be who you are, in Christ, living out that new identity. So, I think there’s a lot of really important theology, and then flowing out into practical action from that doctrine.
  • Finally, I would say, very practically, that we look at what we call ‘the ordinary means of grace’. God does extraordinary things through that ordinary means.

There’s this relationship between abiding and obeying. They’re almost synonymous in the Gospels. If someone wants to obey, you abide. If someone wants to abide, you obey. So, sometimes you start living like it and the rest of the affections come behind you.

The Hole in Our Holiness from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

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