|A sermon on justification by RandyP|
2017 Sermon Prep
Intro - Justification = Being "Right" with God
For many the object of a Christian faith is to provide an eternal salvation. There is no point to eternal salvation unless one is first also "right" with their eternal God.
For many the object of a Christian faith is to take away their sins. There is no point to the forgiveness of sins unless at the same time it is added being "right" with their all forgiving God.
What does being right mean? Right on our own terms? What then are our terms? Right on God's? What are God's terms?
Sola Fide - Reformed position: "Justification by Faith Only"
Importance to Christian Walk Today = Hinge that swings us our way or God's way.
Burden/Responsibility placed upon me here today to get this message right.
Burden/Responsibility placed upon everyone listening today to get this message right.
It is an understanding much like a door hinge that can swing either our direction closed or God's direction open. It is an understanding, if placed in the proper light, that will radically transform our faith from a well intended intellectual consent to a deeply appreciative daily living confession to the glory of God's immense holy character.
Today = Examination of the Doctrine of Justification from a reformed perspective (at least reformed as I understand it). Using the reformer's "5 solas" as a telescope (bringing far distant objects into a much closer single eye's view). Our telescopic lenses today will be 4 of the 5 solas SolaScriptura/ SolaGratia/ SolusChristus/ SoliDeoGloria focused in on the correctness and possible implications of the 1 SolaFide.
- There are basically 3 proposed means for justification historically
- Justification by Law
- Justification by Works
- Justification by Faith
We will examine each of these in the same telescopic fashion.
Justification by Law?
Please turn to nkjv@Deuteronomy:28-31
1. SolaScriptura? (Justification by Law?) (support/renunciation of) (by direct texts)
- From Start Covenant of Law = Conditional "IF" Covenant
- Blessing nkjv@Deuteronomy:28:1-14 if you diligently obey...these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you (Blessed shall you be: you in city/country, fruit of your body/produce of ground+herds, basket+kneading bowl, come in+go out, enemies defeated+flee, storehouses; Establish you as holy people, all peoples of the earth shall see; LORD will grant you plenty, LORD will open to you His good treasure, LORD will make you the head, you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day...)
- Curse nkjv@Deuteronomy:28:15-68 if you do not obey...all these curses will come upon you and overtake you ((the very same things above that were supposed to bless them); nkjv@Deuteronomy:28:37 you shall become an astonishment/proverb/byword among all nations; nkjv@Deuteronomy:28:46 they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever; nkjv@Deuteronomy:28:63 ..just as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing)
- God's Intention nkjv@Deuteronomy:29:13-15 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before the LORD our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today
- Effect even if cursed? nkjv@Deuteronomy:29:24-26 All nations would say, "Why has the LORD done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?' Then people would say: "Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt;
- Return Clause? nkjv@Deuteronomy:30:1-3 "Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you.
- In need of further explaination/interpretation? nkjv@Deuteronomy:30:11-12 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'
- FAILURE PREDICTED:
- nkjv@Deuteronomy:31:16-18 ..this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant.. I will forsake them.. many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, "Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us? ..because of all the evil which they have done, in that they have turned to other gods
- nkjv@Deuteronomy:31:25-30 ..Moses commanded the Levites.. "Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death? .. Gather to me all the elders.. that I may.. call heaven and earth to witness against them.. I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt.. evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands."
- nkjv@Joshua:24:14-22 Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth.. choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.. people answered and said: "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD.. He is our God." ..But Joshua said to the people, "You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good." And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the LORD!" So Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses!"
- Result Historically?
- Judges, Chronicles, Kings, Lamentations, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester, etc..
- best summarized nkjv@Psalms:106:43 Many times He delivered them; But they rebelled in their counsel, And were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, When He heard their cry; And for their sake He remembered His covenant, And relented according to the multitude of His mercies.
- 4 Fold Purpose of Law (according to nkjv@Galatians:3)
- nkjv@Galatians:3:19 ..It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made..
- nkjv@Galatians:3:22 ..confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
- nkjv@Galatians:3:23 ..we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
- nkjv@Galatians:3:24 ..the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Note: nkjv@Galatians:3:21 ..if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
Note: nkjv@Galatians:4:4-7 @ But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Conclusion to this point as to the preponderance of scripture:
nkjv@Galatians:3:11 @ But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."
nkjv@Romans:3:20 @ Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
nkjv@Galatians:3:21 @ Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
2. SolaGratia? (Justification by Law? what grace has to say about it)
nkjv@Titus:3:7 @ that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
nkjv@Galatians:5:4-5 @ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
nkjv@Romans:9:31-32 @ but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.
nkjv@Romans:4:14 @ For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,
3. SolusChristus? (Justification by Law? what Christ alone has to say about it)
kjv@Romans:5:9 @ Much more then, being now justified by his blood
kjv@Romans:3:24 @ Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
kjv@1Corinthians:6:11 @ And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
nkjv@Romans:3:25-26 @ whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
nkjv@Romans:10:4 @ For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
nkjv@Galatians:3:13 @ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" ),
I want to share something I recently learned about God's glory, how best to understand it (from John Piper). God above all things is "Holy" (whats that? we don't at first know: separate/without equal/unspotted) (we have to be shown) - Glory is God's holiness being made publicly known.
- The Son Jesus you'll recall went about all of this time seeking at every opportunity to glorify (make known the holiness of) the Father; and the Father the Son.
- Both the purpose of man being created and also the calling to which we are called to in the future is to glorify (make HIS holiness known).
- The bible is a definitive recording of the Trinity making it's holiness known to fallen man so that redeemed man can properly glorify the Trinity in return.
- In the bible God has established and since maintained a name/reputation for HIMSELF through HIS dealings with Israel and now the Church (this despite their frequent sinful doings).
According to biblical history the Law has only been fulfilled once - by Jesus.
-fail at one point = failed at all nkjv@James:2:10
-Law has confined all to be under sin nkjv@Galatians:3:22
-I had not known sin but by the law kjv@Romans:7:7
-seeking to made their own righteousness nkjv@Romans:10:3 nkjv@1Timothy:1:7
-Add to this the fact that the law often has the opposite effect upon the carnal mind of amplifying the desire to sin. nkjv@Romans:7.
As to God's glory in this case, God's revealing of HIS holy character to man has come not as a result of man's obedience to the law, but as a result of God's long-suffering and perseverance to the covenant made with Abraham Isaac Jacob (even long after their death). These are but a few of the reasons why neither the Law nor Works in and of themselves can be the means of ultimate justification from/with God.
Summary Law? Justification/Right with God?:
nkjv@Romans:3:28 @ Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
Justification by law. Why is it important that we spend as much time as we already have understanding the substantial evidence against justification by the law?
- I think it is important because:
- We cannot claim that we are any bit different/better/more likely to succeed at this than Israel, sin is sin is sin is rebellion.
- Given every positive incentive the law cannot be fulfilled by man (not to make us fully right with God) (in fact it is exactly the opposite from the sinners standpoint); this despite our very best intentions and solemn oath.
- Given every negative incentive the law cannot be fulfilled by man (not to make us fully right with God); despite our very best intentions and solemn oath.
- It is our natural tendency to morph spiritual things like the Law into the the non-spiritual things that we would rather have them be (example = Oral Traditions or ritualism).
- If God intends for any of His redemptive plan to be conditional requiring the effort of us; I can guaranty that that plan is in serious trouble.
- I believe that everyone of us here today are living proof of these very facts.
- Assuredly the law was not intended by God to be for justification. As stated is was to establish for Himself a people through whom He could establish for Himself a Christ; a Christ who would become for us our justification.
Justification by Works?
Please turn to nkjv@Luke:17:7-10
nkjv@Luke:17:7-10 @ And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, "Come at once and sit down to eat'? But will he not rather say to him, "Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do."'
Now there are not many people that I know of that can honestly say that they have accomplished all that the Lord has commanded them. If there ever was one I should happen to meet I would have to tell him/her"
My friend I am truly jealous, you've accomplished what I myself and no one that I have known have been able to do. And yet truth be told as great as that accomplishment is between us mortals, it only accomplished what was our duty to do! How then are we ever to be justified by works?
- When it comes to Justification by Works/being made right with God, the first matter of concern is that we are all of the same understanding as to what is meant by "works" (that potentially would make one "right" with God):
- Are they everyday common works?
- Are they religious works or acts (such as Sacraments) performed?
- Are they measurably more miraculous types of performances of God's power? What type of work is God looking for in order to justifiably make us or declare us "right" with His awesome Holiness?
kjv@John:14:12 @ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
1. SolaScriptura? (by larger contexts)
- First let's consider the overall context given us in the Old/New Testament.
- The law came about because of the failure of men's works (to correct/impose upon) (even to the very imagination behind them) (if not justified by law than not by works)
- Note: works often equate to what we ourselves are willing to try to do for God being that we are incapable of keeping the more perfect Law (we're not stepping up in class/we're stepping down)
- Note: The first work recorded after the fall was the sewing of fig leaves by Adam and Eve to cover their own selves (and the blaming of each other before God), the second was Adam and Eve's two son's worship of God leading to Cain's murder of Able. Not a good history of works to start.
Here's the problem as scripture sees it:
kjv@Jeremiah:17:9 @ The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
nkjv@Proverbs:21:2 @ Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.
- Randy's Law of Biblical Probability (reader assuming "main character/heroes position" - what are the real numerical probabilities?):
- odds of reader falling as either Eve (deceived) or Adam (compelled) = 2/2 100%
- Cain+Abel - odds of reader being Abel = 1/2 50%
- Jacob's Sons selling Joseph - odds of reader being Joseph 1/12 (10/12 not being Joseph (Benjamin?))
- Odds of God selecting the reader into Giddeon's army = 350/32,000+
- Elijah verses false prophets - odds of reader being Elijah 1/780
- odds of not being the Pharisee in the story rather than disciples = 12/1000+
- odds of not turning away from Jesus when sayings were "too hard" 12/100+
- odds of being a disciple that attended or was nearby the first night's trial of Jesus 2/12
- odds of being a disciple present at the foot of the cross 1/11 or 1/120
- odds of not deserting Paul when under house arrest in Rome 2/?
kjv@Jeremiah:17:9 @ The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
nkjv@Proverbs:21:2 @ Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.
OT Context = works most often described by God as barely paying lip service (their heart far away from ME).
NT Context = Disciples offering Jesus advice based upon what they saw as right, disciples leaving Jesus because His sayings where "too hard", Apostles segregating themselves from Gentile believers at a feast even though they had been in agreement and had three visions relating to God's will, Judizers following after Paul binding converts back into legalism, congregants disputing over which teacher they are of, John receiving a vision of Jesus rebuking all seven of the eastern churches he was commanded to address.
Works? Common? Sacriment/Religious? Miraculous?
Recall in several times others wold come to Jesus boasting of their works that Jesus found it quite easy with everyone of them to expose the hidden bias's, the hypocrisies, the agenda's and pretentious motives. His very presence was a light in the darkness revealing the very intents of our dark hearts:
kjv@Luke:2:34-35 @ And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
The truth is that the carnal mind would much rather be justified by works and is insulted when it is proven not to be so. The offense to them is that justification is not being given them on their own terms, that their works even to now are utterly useless else condemning.
Works? Common? Sacriment/Religious? Miraculous?
If by works at all, let's examine then the most probable of these scenarios (that they are miraculous works):
kjv@Matthew:7:22-24 @ Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Are these then the works guarantied to "justify" us (make right with/to) God?
You see there importance placed upon some sort of doing and in doing there is a rock solid anchor to attach to in times of trouble, but there is an obvious detachment of works from the being "right" with God justification.
Can we agree - The scriptural history of works (any works) is in no way a stellar history.
2. SolaGratia? (Justification by works?)
kjv@Romans:11:6 @ And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
nkjv@Romans:4:4 @ Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
3. SolusChristus? (Justification by works?)
kjv@Romans:5:18 @ ... even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life
nkjv@Hebrews:9:14 @ how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
We spoke earlier of Glory being God's holiness being made public. I had asked you to recall at that time the intense interplay between the Son glorifying the Father and the Father glorifying the Son. I now want to draw your attention to the ultimate glorification (making their holiness public) the work of Christ upon the cross, the work of the Father in Christ's resurrection, and the Holy Spirit's coming into us as the seal of a future redemption.
Q. What benefit did the works of any man's hand add to that?
Q. How could the "Holy" Spirit be allowed to come to us unless somehow (at least forensically) we were already declared "right with God" by Christ's all sufficient work?
Q. How could any of our works be right with God until taught and corrected by the Holy Spirit?
4. SoliDeoGloria? (Justification by works?)
nkjv@Romans:9:16 @ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Summary Works? Justification/Right with God?
Please do not get me wrong, there is certainly an important place for good works, their rightful place however is certainly not attached to justification (if not by law certainly not by works). Justification is rather the point where the tangible benefits (adoption/inheritance) of the works of Jesus Christ attach themselves to us. We rely solely upon Christ's all sufficient work in order to be made right with God (by declaration), being then justified with God HE sends to us HIS Holy Spirit the HE might guide/correct us unto all good works (works to which we have been created/foreordained).
nkjv@John:3:21 @ But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
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Justification by Faith?
Please turn to nkjv@Romans:4:16-25
nkjv@Romans:4:16 @ Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
nkjv@Romans:4:17 @ (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations" ) in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
nkjv@Romans:4:18 @ who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be."
nkjv@Romans:4:19 @ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb.
nkjv@Romans:4:20 @ He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
nkjv@Romans:4:21 @ and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
nkjv@Romans:4:22 @ And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."
nkjv@Romans:4:23 @ Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
nkjv@Romans:4:24 @ but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
nkjv@Romans:4:25 @ who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
For the Reformers obviously faith itself was not to be understood as being the "source" of justification, Christ alone is the source of justification, it was meant as the access point for us to attach to and "partake" of it's benefit. Sola Fide might be better understood as justification in Christ only by the means of faith in His ability to execute the unconditional covenant as promised, and by that hope/trust alone. Essentially it is His righteousness made available to us by imputation.
1. SolaScriptura? (by words and concepts attached)
kjv@Romans:5:1 @ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
_Consider not just the word faith (grk=Pistis), but more importantly the concepts attached to it's use throughout the NT:_
Quoted resource: strongs 'G4102'
- MAJOR SUBJECTS IN CONTEXTUAL CONNECTION TO PISTIS:
- IS BORN OF GOD kjv@1John:5:4
- REVEALS GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS kjv@Romans:1:17 kjv@Romans:3:25 kjv@Romans:4:5 kjv@Romans:4:9 kjv@Romans:4:11 kjv@Romans:4:13 strkjv@Philippians:3:9
- GIVEN IN PROPORTION/MEASURE kjv@Romans:12:3 kjv@Romans:12:6
- REGARDING - BELIEF IN TRUTH kjv@2Thessalonians:2:13
- REGARDING - BELIEF IN/OF JESUS kjv@Romans:3:26 kjv@Romans:4:5 kjv@1Corinthians:15:14 kjv@1Corinthians:15:17 kjv@1Timothy:1:14
- REGARDING - GOD/GOD'S POWER kjv@1Corinthians:2:5 kjv@1Peter:1:5 kjv@1Peter:1:21 kjv@2Thessalonians:1:11
- REGARDING - HIS PROMISES kjv@Romans:4:13-14 kjv@Romans:4:16 kjv@Hebrews:6:12
- REGARDING - JUSTIFICATION/PEACE kjv@Romans:3:26 kjv@Romans:3:28 kjv@Romans:3:30 kjv@Romans:5:1 kjv@James:2:24
- A MYSTERY HELD kjv@1Timothy:3:9
- COMES BY HEARING/SCRIPTURE
- LAW OF FAITH AS OPPOSED TO LAW OF LAW kjv@Romans:3:27 kjv@Romans:3:31 kjv@Romans:4:13
- ACCESS TO GOD MADE BY kjv@Romans:5:2 kjv@Romans:9:30 kjv@Romans:9:32 kjv@Romans:10:6 kjv@Romans:11:20 kjv@Hebrews:10:22 kjv@Hebrews:10:39 kjv@Hebrews:11:6 kjv@James:1:6
- HOPE/EVIDENCE OF THINGS UNSEEN kjv@Hebrews:11:1-3
- INVOLVES OBEDIENCE TO FAITH kjv@Romans:1:5 kjv@Romans:16:26 strkjv@Philemon:1:6 kjv@James:2:17 kjv@1Thessalonians:1:3
- LIVED BY/FIDELITY TO kjv@Romans:1:17 kjv@2Corinthians:5:7 kjv@2Corinthians:13:5 kjv@1Timothy:6:11 kjv@1Timothy:6:12 kjv@2Timothy:2:22 kjv@2Timothy:4:7 kjv@Titus:2:10 kjv@Hebrews:10:38
- MINISTRY OF kjv@Romans:10:8 kjv@2Corinthians:1:24 kjv@2Corinthians:10:15 kjv@1Thessalonians:3:2 kjv@1Timothy:1:4 kjv@1Timothy:2:7 kjv@1Timothy:4:6 kjv@1Timothy:4:12 kjv@2Timothy:3:10
- BELIEVER CAN BE WEAK/SOUND/RICH IN kjv@Romans:4:19-20 kjv@Romans:14:1 kjv@1Corinthians:16:13 kjv@2Corinthians:8:7 kjv@1Thessalonians:3:5 kjv@1Thessalonians:3:10 kjv@2Thessalonians:1:3 kjv@1Timothy:1:5 kjv@1Timothy:1:19 kjv@1Timothy:2:15 kjv@1Timothy:4:1 kjv@1Timothy:5:8 kjv@1Timothy:5:12 kjv@1Timothy:6:10 kjv@1Timothy:6:21 kjv@2Timothy:2:18 kjv@Titus:1:13 kjv@Titus:2:2 kjv@2Peter:1:5 kjv@James:2:5
- WORKS PATIENCE IN BELIEVER kjv@James:1:3 kjv@2Thessalonians:1:4 kjv@1Peter:1:7 kjv@1Peter:1:9
- PUBLIC/SECRET SIDES OF ITS NATURE kjv@Romans:1:8 kjv@Romans:14:22 kjv@1Thessalonians:1:8
- IS MUTUAL/INCLUSIVE kjv@Romans:1:12 kjv@Romans:3:22 kjv@2Corinthians:4:13 kjv@1Thessalonians:3:6-7 kjv@1Thessalonians:5:8 kjv@2Thessalonians:3:2 strkjv@Philippians:1:25 strkjv@Philippians:1:27 strkjv@Philippians:2:17 kjv@1Timothy:1:2 kjv@2Timothy:1:5 kjv@2Timothy:3:8 kjv@Titus:3:15 kjv@Titus:1:4 strkjv@Philemon:1:5 kjv@Hebrews:13:7 kjv@1Peter:5:9 kjv@2Peter:1:1
- IS BEFORE/TOWARDS GOD kjv@Romans:14:22 kjv@Hebrews:6:1
- ANYTHING NOT OF FAITH IS SIN kjv@Romans:14:23
Quoted resource: torrey 'Justification'
Note: Reformers define Justification as "forensic": "Right as declared by God"
Example = slave of sin being adopted as a son by royal family
Example = a wedding guest from the distant byways given a wedding robe by the groom in order to partake in the wedding feast.
As opposed to defining Justification as a "transformational" process: "made right little by little by a process of law or works towards perfection". No, sanctification is the term reformers define as the transformation and is separate but similar to justification (being not really complete until the glorious day we finally "see Him as He really is").
kjv@Romans:3:24 @ Being justified freely by his grace...
nkjv@Ephesians:2:8 @ For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
nkjv@Romans:4:16 @ Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
kjv@Galatians:3:29 @ And if ye be Christs, then are ye Abrahams seed, and heirs according to the promise.
kjv@Galatians:3:8 @ And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
kjv@Galatians:3:16 @ Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
How do we know that the most important part of this unconditional Abrahamic covenant was made regarding a Seed (Christ) and not many seeds (Israel)? That takes us back to the larger overall superseding unconditional covenant made clear back with Adam:
nkjv@Genesis:3:15 @ And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
This will become central to our examination because not only do we have a whole lot of various scriptures to support being "right" with God through faith alone, scripture reveals to us that we have unconditional superseding covenant. And if unconditional, if as a result of Christ's complete and all sufficient work itself (Sola Christus), then it is also only by God's grace.
Now the critics of Justification by Faith alone will attempt to stretch their faulty interpretation of kjv@James:2 over top all the preponderance of scriptural evidence elsewhere in order to cover over this truth quoting:
nkjv@James:2:21 @ Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
Clearly James is speaking of a separate form of justification here as revealed by the timing of Abraham's "accounting" as documented in scripture.
- This is not an argument as some one make it between James and Paul:
- James is known to be in agreement with Paul's gospel of grace nkjv@Acts:15 nkjv@Galatians:2:9 he even call attention to it in his letter "perfect law of liberty nkjv@James:1:25 nkjv@James:2:12"
- James agrees that it was Abraham's belief that was accounted to him as being "right" with God nkjv@James:2:23
- Child sacrifice was very common among pagans in Abraham's day (we must be very careful here to say it's not the act of child sacrifice that is the determining work, it is Abraham's continuing belief in the final outcome "God will provide")
James rather is speaking of a danger inherent in all faith of simply hearing and not doing. Context = nkjv@James:1:1 James to 12 tribes (Jewish converts) scattered abroad; nkjv@James:1:2 encountering various trials because of their new Christian faith; nkjv@James:1:4 exhorted to let patience have it's perfect work and nkjv@James:1:12 to endure the temptation of nkjv@James:1:13 thinking anyone of them is being tempted of God to recant or silence their good testimony; nkjv@James:1:22 that in times especially difficult as these to be doers of the word not just hearers.
What doing does James suggest? nkjv@James:1:26 Bridling the tongue; nkjv@James:1:27 visiting orphans/widows; nkjv@James:2:1 not showing partiality; nkjv@James:2:11 not commit adultery; nkjv@James:2:13 be merciful to all (ex=naked/destitute nkjv@James:2:15). Are these then the works leading to justification with God or justification of those who claim to have faith, but have not the works such as these to prove it to anyone else?
Peter puts it this way:
nkjv@2Peter:1:3-4 @ as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
John would readily add:
kjv@John:6:28-29 @ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
You see there was a transaction made between the Father and Son on our behalf.
Note: (2fold) not only the taking away the sin of the believer, but also imputing Christs righteousness on to the believer.
kjv@2Corinthians:5:21 @ For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Note: Christ has already been made sin for us therefore upon belief we are already made the righteousness of him. (consistency of time frame/proportion)
Note: This exchange was made long ago (before our knowing) while we were still ungodly nkjv@Romans:5:6.
Note: No one other than Christ alone has ever been in a position to have performed this most precious exchange.
Certainly Christ Himself was not made "to sin" anymore than we were made "to be" righteous. It is to mean that He "took upon Himself" our sin and we in like manner "take upon ourselves" His righteousness. You see that the exchange that has occurred by His complete obedience to the Father is a change in legal definition. Jesus Christ is still actually very much who He is and we are still actually very much who we are; one thing though has changed - the pathway now to our actual spiritual change (indwelling/santification) is opened before us because of having been declared as if completely "right" with God because of the work of Jesus.
Two prominent Christian definitions historically to compare:
Living as fully persuaded of the hope revealed/purchased/brought about by Christ alone, relying upon His ability alone to make us "right with God", on God's terms as revealed in the scriptures alone, by God's grace alone, for God's glory alone.
(regarding justification = forensic (declared right/righteousness is imputed by Christ/grace and faith alone) - having the assurance born of all this) (Our devotion/obedience to Him is born of recognition and appreciation with humble desire)
Having been justified initially by baptism into the Church and remaining justified by the continuing (up to date) confession and penance for sins yet committed, justification progresses towards completion by means of performing seven Church sanctioned works (Sacraments). At death, the soul will be finally purged of it's innate sinful nature by suffering in purgatory, the length of this purging can be reduced by the Vicor of Rome applying the extra merits of certain Church Saints to their credit (at his discretion) and by prayers of the rosary by the Church faithful to the Immaculate Mother Mary.
(regarding justification = transformative (made/progressing toward becoming right/righteousness infused into/faith plus works plus future purging plus Saints extra merit) - assurance until you done something wrong again)
kjv@1Corinthians:1:26-31 @ For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Conclusions (Justification by faith):
- Back when we started this examination of Sola Fide:
- I asked - If you brother/sister today consider yourself right with God?
- I asked - Made right on our own terms? or on God's?
- I asked - If by our terms, what are our terms? If by God's terms what are God's terms?
- I described our understanding of it as a hinge swinging us either our self appointed direction or else God's
- The question now should be:
- Can justification be accomplished by works of the Law? (if not, can you explain why not?)
- Can justification be accomplished by just works? (if not, can you explain why not?)
- Can justification be given by Faith? (if so, can you explain how so?)
SolaScriptura/ SolaGratia/ SolusChristus/ SoliDeoGloria are the easiest ways to explain the veracity of SolaFide (Justification by faith alone/total trust in the completed work of Christ - Christ the revelation of God's Holiness). But I caution every last one of us here today, being able to explain SolaFide is not the same as living it; having it at the core of our very being. What we need most to consider friends is how then to live under it's complete influence.
- _There is certainly a place for the Law:
There is a very popular doctrine today Antinomianism "against the law" (danger is grace = license to sin; it tends to emphasize that we are no longer judged by the law rather than the call to be imitators of Christ)
- kjv@Jude:1:3-4 @ Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
- nkjv@Psalms:1:1-2 @ Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
- kjv@Romans:13:8-10 @ Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
- kjv@1Timothy:1:5 @ Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
Note: In the return clause of the covenant of the Law the Lord had promised to circumcise our hearts that we might truly love the Lord our God with all our hearts and soul nkjv@Deuteronomy:30:6, as the psalmist prophesied to create in us a clean heart/renew a steadfast spirit within us nkjv@Psalms:51:10. This is God's doing alone by the work of Christ.
- nkjv@Mark:12:29-31 @ Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
- nkjv@Matthew:5:18-19 @ For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
- Saints (those having been declared right) will be examined in The Judgment for future rewards based upon their words and deeds (whether they be of God/to the glory of God) nkjv@Romans:14:10 nkjv@2Corinthians:5:10 nkjv@Hebrews:9:27 nkjv@James:3:1 nkjv@1Peter:4:17 nkjv@1John:4:17 ( nkjv@John:5:24)
- Having that glorious belief then wisely consider anything you may/may not do afterward/as a result of/in full living appreciation of it!
- I can't stress enough that it is God's design for us to now glorify Him in all daily things (make His Holiness (as it has been revealed to us) publicly known). That is what we are to put into our actions with every action.
James perhaps give us the most practical advice:
nkjv@James:2:12-13 @ So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Having now the understanding Justification being by Faith alone/Christ's righteousness imputed upon us, how are we now to continue?
What do the other Apostles say:
nkjv@Ephesians:4:1-8 @ I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."
nkjv@Ephesians:5:1-11 @ Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
nkjv@2Peter:1:5-8 @ But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
nkjv@1John:2:6-8 @ He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
nkjv@Jude:1:20-23 @ But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
God has gone to great lengths to establish and maintain a great name/reputation for Himself. His intent:
nkjv@Deuteronomy:29:13-15 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- HE has established Himself:
- Through the covenant of the Law made with Israel (despite the fact that they dropped their end of it)
- Through a longtime perseverance in keeping His frequent mercies attached to the unconditional covenant that He had made with Abraham
- Through the observance good/bad of what became of Israel as observed by other nations
- Through the Law bringing us to the sober acknowledgment of the need for His Christ
- Through the prophet's foretelling who that Christ would be/what He would set out to do/when He was going to do it/the effect that His obedience would have for us.
- By bringing the divine substance of HIS Son into human flesh in the fullness of time to be this Christ.
- By further establishing that this God/Man is the Christ through miracles and wonders not seen at any other time (and by HIS own voice and Spirit).
- By ultimately glorifying this Christ in death and resurrection and then accession to the right hand throne.
- By placing a forensic declaration of justification upon this Christ's believers, imputing upon them this Christ's righteousness so that He might rightfully send HIS Holy Spirit to indwell them, this in order to lead and guide them.
- By cleansing the sins of these believers and renewing a right spirit within them.
- By adopting them as His own and schooling them through a process of sanctification until the the adoptee's inheritance could be received.
- All this as originally promised to Adam in a statement of crushing the Serpent's head.
- HE will further establish HIMSELF (name/reputation)
- Through those that believe this Jesus of Nazareth is this Christ sent by HIM
- Through those that understand that this one concept of justification is central/key to our proper understandings of grace/salvation/remission/redemption/reconciliation/regeneration/sanctification/adoption/inheritance/empowerment/mission/will/obedience/works/law/sacraments/worship/glorification/holiness/scripture/etc..
- Through those that bring forward this all important understanding into their daily living and daily confession.
The establishment of all these things cannot be over emphasized!
So then brothers and sisters... are you "right" with God? Justified?
How so? On whose terms? What are those terms?
Are you prepared to take this being "right" with God further forward into your daily living to be examples of it outwardly? Your daily glorification of God (your own making His Holiness publicly known)?
Are you ready to say in both words and deeds that this is what having been made right with God by the all sufficient work of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ looks like?
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ - Let us so be "right" with so right of a God!
I want to provide you with some Further Resources:
SolaFideVerses - Verses pro and con (please examine each in full context)
New - BerkoffJustification
New - JustificationDoctrine1689