Free at Last: Dr. Akin Speaks on the Doctrine of Justification
January 19, 2017
Akin questioned the audience on why we are a seminary that prays for the nations, including our own and why evangelism is the heartbeat of SEBTS. He asserted, “We believe the only means someone can receive a right relationship with God is through faith in Jesus Christ. … We believe that heaven and hell are real and that Jesus makes all the difference.”
Akin shared that justification, the core doctrine of the Christian faith, has been tragically misunderstood throughout the past 2000 years of church history.
“How can a man be righteous before God? Can anyone be right with God? How can we ever hope to be accepted in eternity by God when we treat Him with less value than a weekend hobby?” asked Akin. “Our Lord’s value is scorned, ridiculed and ignored.”
In his first message, Akin walked through the first six aspects of justification. Akin stated that justification of sinners cannot be attained by good works, was promised to us by God, results in a right relationship with God and is only through faith in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, justification is something every person needs and is received by grace through redemption in Christ.
“Our default answer to God was always ‘no’ in a dead and sinful state,” said Akin. He joked about raising his four sons when the answer was always “no,” and now with his grandchildren the answer is typically “yes.”
Akin highlighted the benefits we have by living in the 21st century. “We sit in the catbird seat. … Greater revelation means greater responsibility,” he said.
He also spoke on the function of faith in justification. “Faith is the instrument and means by which one is saved,” said Akin. “Conviction of sin will always precede conversion. Jesus is plan A and there is no plan B. … There is no distinction or difference. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
“Faith does not save; Christ saves through faith. Jesus is the object of saving faith,” said Akin.
Several themes of justification were discussed including redemption. Redemption is declared by God, accomplished by God through Christ, received by faith and is evidenced by good works. Akin commented on the popular thought that justification is just as if I’d never sinned. “It is half true,” said Akin. “It also includes just as if I’d always perfectly obeyed.”
Akin went on to explain the similarities and differences between justification and sanctification. “Justification and sanctification are companions but they are not the same thing,” said Akin. “You can’t grow in your justification but you can grow in your sanctification. … Justification is finished at the moment of faith. Sanctification will be completed when we go to be with the Lord.”
Akin concluded his message by reflecting on a spiritual by John Wesley Work Jr. He read, “Goin’ meet King Jesus in the air. I thank God I’m free at last.”