. . . A judge acquits a man when he declares that the man is not guilty. Justification then is a judicial act. It is God's declaration that this sinner is not guilty, but righteous.But how can this be so? How can a sinner be righteous? It should be clearly understood that even faith is not the basis of justification. The ground or basis of justification is the object in which faith rests; that is, Christ and his righteousness. God acquits a sinner, declares him not guilty, on the basis of Christ's righteousness having been imputed to him. Sometimes the expressions are shortened in Scripture, as in Romans 3:21-26. Then again, the great passage in Romans 5:12-19 shows that as it was one act of one man that brought condemnation, so it was by the righteousness of one man alone that justification is possible.The Arminians, even though they were born Protestants, broke away from the Lutheran and Calvinistic teaching and took one or more steps backward toward Rome. They held that the demands of the law were lowered to the level of "evangelical obedience" and on the basis of this quite human obedience, we are justified. But in addition to running counter to the previous references which exclude works, this impinges on the holiness of God by picturing him as satisfied with less than perfection. The Scripture does not teach that God lowers his requirements. On the contrary, God requires and supplies complete sinlessness. Christ not only bore our penalty on the cross, but in his life he perfectly obeyed his Father. It is the personal righteousness of Christ's sinless obedience that is put to our account, on the basis of which we are declared not guilty. Read the same references again. Cf. also Titus 3:5-7; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:9; and even Jeremiah 23:6, for, remember, the Gospel is in the Old Testament and with it justification by faith.Gordon H. Clark. What Do Presbyterians Believe? (Unicoi: Trinity Foundation, 2001). Pages 123-124.
This book is available in paperback at the Trinity Foundation website: What Do Presbyterians Believe? You can also listen to the audio of the book being read by someone other than the author by going to the mp3 section of the Trinity Foundations website. (Scroll down. The book can be downloaded in audio for free. It has the whole book or individual chapters for download in audio). You can listen to the chapter on justification by faith alone by clicking here: Chapter XI: Of Justification.