4. Concerning Justification. (a) That our heavenly Father, the Father of mercies, sent Christ Jesus His Son to men, in the blessed fulness of time, as well to the Jews who were under the law, as to the Gentiles who followed not justice, that they might all lay hold of justice, and all receive the adoption of sons. Him God offered to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, not only for our sins, but likewise for the sins of the whole world (Sess. vi. chap. 3). (b) Nevertheless all do not receive the benefit of His death, but only they to whom the merit of His passion is communicated; so that unless they are born again in Christ, they can never be justified (Sess. vi. chap. 3). (c) That the beginning of justification is to be derived from the preventing grace of God through Christ Jesus, that is, from His call (Sess. vi. chap. 5). (c) That men are disposed to justice, when being stirred up by Divine grace, and conceiving faith from hearing, they are freely moved towards God, believing those things to be true which are Divinely revealed and promised; and especially this, that the ungodly are justified by God through His grace, through redemption, which is by Christ Jesus; and when, being convinced of sin from the fear of Divine justice, by which they are profitably disquieted, they are encouraged in hope, trusting that God, for Christ's sake, will be propitious to them (Sess. vi. chap. 6). (d) That the consequence of this disposition and preparation is actual justification, which is not only a remission of sins, but likewise a sanctification and renovation of the interior man by the reception of Divine grace and gifts, whereby man from being unjust, becomes just, and from being an enemy becomes a friend, so as to be an heir according to the hope of eternal life (Sess. vi. chap. 7). (e) The final cause of justification is the glory of God and of Christ, and life eternal. The efficient cause is God, who freely cleanses and sanctifies. The meritorious cause is the Dearly-Beloved and Only-Begotten of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who when we were enemies, through the great charity wherewith He loved us, by His most holy passion upon the wood of the cross, merited for us justification, and made satisfaction for us to God the Father.
The instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism which is a sacrament of faith, without which no one can ever reach justification. The formal cause is the sole justice of God; not that whereby He is just Himself, but that whereby He makes us just, with which being gifted by Him, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind; and are not only reputed just, but are truly called and are just, each according to his own measure, which the Holy Spirit imparts to everyone as it pleases Him (Sess. vi. chap. 7, 2). (f) That justification is a translation from that state, wherein man is born a son of the first Adam, into a state of grace and adoption of the sons of God by the second Adam, our Saviour Jesus christ (Sess. vi. chap. 4).