The following is a statement which is usually quoted to defend the idea that justification covers us even while we are sinning as long as we are trying to overcome.
"When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man's best service, and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit. "
There is also a chart that has been used to illustrate this tradition and this idea has left many of us secure without victory today, always hoping it will come tomorrow.
Now let us examine the statement in context and along with other statements and texts.
"There is no excuse for sin or for indolence. Jesus has led the way, and He wishes us to follow in His steps. He has suffered, He has sacrificed as none of us can, that He might bring salvation within our reach. We need not be discouraged. Jesus came to our world to bring divine power to man, that through His grace, we might be transformed into His likeness.
"When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man's best service, and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit. But He will not accept those who claim to have faith in Him and yet are disloyal to His Father's commandment. We hear a great deal about faith, but we need to hear a great deal more about works. Many are deceiving their own souls by living an easy-going, accommodating, crossless religion."
Jesus does not cover or excuse our sins. He came to connect us to Himself, so that He could empower us to live for Him.
"Jesus came to our world to bring divine power to man, that through His grace, we might be transformed into His likeness."
"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
"Abundant grace has been provided that the believing soul may be kept free from sin; for all heaven, with its limitless resources, has been placed at our command."
"I can do all things through him which strengtheneth me."
"He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, 'Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord'"
"In the Lord have I righteousness and strength."
"Your hope is not in yourself; it is in Christ. Your weakness is united to His strength, your ignorance to His wisdom, your frailty to His enduring might."
"He is watching over you, and if you are willing to be guided by Him, He will throw around you influences for good that will enable you to accomplish all His will for you."
"His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness."
"There are many who in their hearts murmur against God. They say, 'We inherit the fallen nature of Adam, and are not responsible for our natural imperfections.'"
"For all the natural weaknesses Jesus has made ample provision, that they may be overcome through His grace."
"When we frame excuses for selfishness, for evil thinking and evil speaking, we are educating the soul in evil, and if we continue to do this, it will become a habit to yield to temptation. "
This is what many of us were doing. We thought we could excuse our heart sins, which are actually character defects.
"God will not make the slightest compromise with sin. If He could have done this, Christ need not have come to our world to suffer and die."
"Christ loves His church. He will give all needed help to those who call upon Him for strength for the development of Christlike character. But His love is not weakness. He will not serve with their sins or give them prosperity while they continue to follow a wrong course of action. Only by faithful repentance will their sins be forgiven; for God will never cover evil with the robe of His righteousness. "
"The halo of glory, which God had given holy Adam, covering him as a garment, departed from him after his transgression. The light of God's glory could not cover disobedience and sin."
"I must speak the truth to all. Those who have accepted light from God's Word are never, never to leave an impression upon human minds that God will serve with their sins."
"Jesus stands in the holy of holies, now to appear in the presence of God for us. There He ceases not to present His people moment by moment, complete in Himself. But because we are thus represented before the Father, we are not to imagine that we are to presume upon His mercy, and become careless, indifferent, and self-indulgent. Christ is not the minister of sin. We are complete in Him, accepted in the Beloved, only as we abide in Him by faith. "
"But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. "
"No one who truly loves and fears God will continue to transgress the law in any particular. When man transgresses he is under the condemnation of the law, and it becomes to him a yoke of bondage. Whatever his profession may be he is not justified, which means pardoned."
"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."
"While God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul. . . .
"In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect. "
"The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven."
"Gospel religion is Christ in the life - a living, active principle. It is the grace of Christ revealed in character and wrought out in good works."
"Christ abiding in the soul exerts a transforming power, and the outward aspect bears witness to the peace and joy that reign within. We drink in the love of Christ, as the branch draws nourishment from the vine. If we are grafted in Christ, if fiber by fiber we have been united with the Living Vine, we shall give evidence of the fact by bearing rich clusters of living fruit."
"Ye shall know them by their fruits."
"Inward grace will be revealed in the outward actions. "
"Righteousness within is testified to by righteousness without. He who is righteous within is not hard-hearted and unsympathetic, but day by day he grows into the image of Christ, going on from strength to strength. He who is being sanctified by the truth will be self-controlled, and will follow in the footsteps of Christ until grace is lost in glory. The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted, the first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven. "
Receiving Christ into the life is the first righteousness, our title to heaven. Living by His power is the second righteousness, our fitness for heaven.
"Through faith in His name he imputes unto us His righteousness, and it becomes a living principle in our life."
"His imputed grace and power He gives to all who receive Him by faith."
"By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like him."
Christ living in us (the imputed righteousness) produces the fruits of the Spirit (the imparted righteousness). The vine and the branch illustration is the diagram which Jesus gave us of His relationship with His followers.
"As the life of the vine circulates through stem and cluster, descends into the lower fibers, and reaches to the topmost leaf, so will the grace and love of Christ burn and abound in the soul, sending its virtues to every part of the being, and pervading every exercise of body and mind."
"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, . . . might be filled with all the fulness of God."
"The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind."
"Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same good works - works of righteousness, obedience.
"So we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast. We have no ground for self-exaltation. Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us."
"No one can believe with the heart unto righteousness, and obtain justification by faith, while continuing the practice of those things which the word of God forbids, or while neglecting any known duty.
"Genuine faith will be manifested in good works; for good works are the fruits of faith. As God works in the heart, and man surrenders his will to God, and cooperates with God, he works out in the life what God works in by the Holy Spirit, and there is harmony between the purpose of the heart and the practice of the life. Every sin must be renounced as the hateful thing that crucified the Lord of life and glory, and the believer must have a progressive experience by continually doing the works of Christ. It is by continual surrender of the will, by continual obedience, that the blessing of justification is retained.
"Those who are justified by faith must have a heart to keep the way of the Lord. It is an evidence that a man is not justified by faith when his works do not correspond to his profession. James says, 'Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was his faith made perfect?' James 2:22. The faith that does not produce good works does not justify the soul. 'Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.'
"Genuine faith does a genuine work in the believer. . . . The so-called faith that does not work by love and purify the soul will not justify any man."
"The danger has been presented to me again and again of entertaining, as a people, false ideas of justification by faith. I have been shown for years that Satan would work in a special manner to confuse the mind on this point."
"Keep thee far from a false matter; . . . for I will not justify the wicked."
"There is no safety nor repose nor justification in transgression of the law. Man cannot hope to stand innocent before God, and at peace with Him through the merits of Christ, while he continues in sin. He must cease to transgress and become loyal and true."
"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation."
"Let none deceive themselves with the thought that God, in His great love and mercy, will yet save even the rejecters of His grace. The exceeding sinfulness of sin can be estimated only in the light of the cross. When men urge that God is too good to cast off the sinner, let them look to Calvary. . . . The love and suffering and death of the Son of God all testify to the terrible enormity of sin, and declare that there is no escape from its power, no hope of the higher life, but through the submission of the soul to Christ."
"Whenever men choose their own way, they place themselves in controversy with God. They will have no place in the kingdom of heaven, for they are at war with the very principles of heaven."
"The transgression of God's law in a single instance, in the smallest particular, is a sin. And the non-execution of the penalty of that sin would be a crime in the divine administration. . . .
"What is the justice of God? It is the holiness of God in relation to sin. Christ bore the sins of the world in man's behalf that the sinner might have another trial. "
"Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"
"God bears long with the perversity of men, giving them ample opportunity for repentance; but He marks all their devices to resist the authority of His just and holy law."
"If men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them."
"And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty."
"Men may now excuse their defects of character, but in that day they will offer no excuse."
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?"
"Christ will have nothing to do with pretense. He will welcome to the heavenly courts those only whose Christianity is genuine. The lives of professing Christians who do not live the life of Christ are a mockery to religion."
"Our Lord is put to shame by those who claim to serve Him, but who misrepresent His character; and multitudes are deceived, and led into false paths."
"Skeptics have assailed Christianity, and ridiculed the Bible, because David gave them occasion. They bring up to Christians the case of David, his sin in the case of Uriah and Bathsheba, his polygamy, and then assert that David is called a man after God's own heart, and that if the Bible record is correct, God justified David in his crimes.
"I was shown that it was when David was pure, and walking in the counsel of God, that God called him a man after His own heart. When David departed from God, and stained his virtuous character by his crimes, he was no longer a man after God's own heart. God did not in the least degree justify him in his sins, but sent Nathan, His prophet, with dreadful denunciations to David because he had transgressed the commandment of the Lord. God shows his displeasure at David's having a plurality of wives, by visiting him with judgments, and permitting evils to rise up against him from his own house. The terrible calamity that God permitted to come upon David; who, for his integrity, was once called a man after God's own heart, is evidence to after generations that God would not justify any one in transgressing His commandments; but that He would surely punish the guilty, however righteous and favored of God they might once have been while they followed the Lord in purity of heart."
"As he departed from God and yielded himself to the wicked one, he became for the time the agent of Satan."
"When the righteous turn from their righteousness and do evil, their past righteousness will not save them from the wrath of a just and holy God."
"Jesus died, not to save man in his sins, but from his sins."
"One sin unrepented of is enough to close the gates of heaven against you. It was because man could not be saved with one stain of sin upon him, that Jesus came to die on Calvary's cross."
"Only for those who return to their allegiance to God, only for those who obey the law that they have violated, will the blood of Christ avail. Christ will never become a party to sin. Bearing the penalty of the law, He gives the sinner another chance, a second trial. He opens a way whereby the sinner can be reinstated in God's favor."
"Have you fallen into sin? Then without delay seek God for mercy and pardon. . . . Mercy is still extended to the sinner."
"It is Satan's special device to lead man into sin, and then leave him, helpless and trembling, fearing to seek for pardon."
"If we are overcome let us not delay to repent, and to accept the pardon that will place us on vantage ground. If we repent and believe, the cleansing power from God will be ours. His saving grace is freely offered. His pardon is given to all who will receive it."
"Justification is a full, complete pardon of sin. The moment a sinner accepts Christ by faith, that moment he is pardoned. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, and he is no more to doubt God's forgiving grace."
"David was pardoned of his transgression because he humbled his heart before God in repentance and contrition of soul, and believed that God's promise to forgive would be fulfilled. He confessed his sin, repented, and was reconverted. In the rapture of the assurance of forgiveness, he ex-claimed, 'Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.' The blessing comes because of pardon; pardon comes through faith that the sin, confessed and repented of, is borne by the great Sin-bearer."
"Whoever under the reproof of God will humble the soul with confession and repentance, as did David, may be sure that there is hope for him. Whoever will in faith accept God's promises, will find pardon. The Lord will never cast away one truly repentant soul. He has given this promise: . . . 'Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. '"
"Pardon and justification are one and the same thing."
"To be pardoned in the way that Christ pardons, is not only to be forgiven, but to be renewed in the spirit of the mind."
"David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, 'Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.'"