Are we justified on account of our faith?


Answer, per Robert Pate (and so many others):


Justification is a declarative act in which God pronounces the sinner just or righteous, that is, declares that the claims of justice, so far as God is concerned, are satisfied, so that the sinner cannot be justly condemned, but is in justice entitled to the reward promised or due to perfect righteousness.

The meritorious ground of justification is not faith; we are not justified on account of our faith, considered as a virtuous or holy act or state of mind. Nor are our works of any kind the ground of justification. Nothing done by us or wrought in us satisfies the demands of justice, or can be the ground or reason of the declaration that justice as far as it concerns us is satisfied. The ground of justification is the righteousness of Christ, active and passive, i.e., including His perfect obedience to the law as a covenant, and His enduring the penalty of the law in our stead and on our behalf.

The righteousness of Christ is in justification imputed to the believer. That is, is set to his account, so that the believer is entitled to plead it at the bar of God, as though it were personally and inherently his own.

Faith is the instrument which apprehends the righteousness of Christ. Ours is an alien righteousness, one instilled from outside ourselves, that of Christ's (1 Corinthians 1:30).