The Relevance of Buchanan’s Justification: Part Four

Experiential

The final point of value in Buchanan’s Justification is the thorough-going, experiential warmth that pervades the book. This is something the NPP and even some of its critics lack. Yet, it is precisely the personal and experiential relevance of the doctrine of justification that makes it so extremely precious to God’s children. Their acceptance with God, their assuaged consciences, their hope of eternal life all depend on the proper construal of this doctrine. Buchanan simply excels in brings this gloriously to the fore. Again, allow one quotation to represent thousands of instances through the book:

Some vague opinion in regard to His [God’s] general mercy, or some undefined purpose to propitiate His favour by future repentance and amendment of life, before they are brought face to face with the awful realities of death, and judgment, and eternity, may suffice, in the meantime, as an answer to the accusing voice of conscience, and as an opiate to allay its forebodings and fears. But minds in this state never grapple with any of the real difficulties of the problem, and can scarcely be said to have the slightest apprehension of its true meaning. They overlook all the most momentous conditions which are involved in it, and on which its right solution depends. The Gospel of Christ alone has presented that problem in all its magnitude, and in its just proportions; and the Gospel of Christ alone has offered a solution of it, based on a full view of the Attributes of God, — of the unalterable requirements of His Law, — of the principles and ends of His Moral Government, –, and of the stat, character, and prospects of man, as a dying yet immortal being, chargeable with past guilt, and still depraved by inherent sin (406).

Here and throughout the book, the godly will find justification not only a doctrine consonant with the Bible, vindicated throughout history, theologically integral, but also experientially vital.

Reformulations of the great doctrine of justification seem to require little ingenuity, whereas the defense of the doctrine obviously demands rigorous acumen. In Buchanan, we such an excellent specimen of this rare acumen. May God use this magisterial treatment of this crucial doctrine to expose the NPP for what it is and settle the current controversy in its disfavor.

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