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Tuesday
Dec102013

Theological Term of the Week

simul justus et peccator
Latin for “at the same time just and sinner,” a formula Martin Luther used to communicate “the objective  reality of justification by faith alongside the Christian’s continual struggle against sin.”1

  • From scripture:
    And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness .  .  .  . (Romans 4:5 ESV)
  • From the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 11, Of Justification:
    I. Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.
  • From Martin Luther in his Lectures on Romans: 
    The saints in being righteous are at the same time sinners; they are righteous because they believe in Christ whose righteousness covers them and is imputed to them, but they are sinners because they do not fulfill the Law and are not without sinful desires. They are like sick people in the care of a physician: they are really sick, but healthy only in hope and in so far as they begin to get better, or, rather: are being healed.

Learn more:

  1. R. C. Sproul: What Does “Simul Justus et Peccator” Mean? (video) (A transcript of this video can be found here.)
  2. Monergism.com: Simul Justus et Peccator

Related terms:

Filed under Reformed Theology

1From Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Faith by Kelly M. Kapic & Wesley Vander Lugt

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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