Or should I say, “Justification By Faith”
This past Wednesday evening we discussed a religious term called sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which we are cleansed and made holy before God on a continual basis by the washing of the pure water of His Word of Truth. We discovered:
Relationship is God’s purpose, forgiveness is His character – salvation is His plan – repentance is man’s opportunity to participate in God’s plan.
This morning we will continue our review of Religious Terminology by discovering what it means to be “Justified”. Sounds like a legal term doesn’t it … well it kind of is. To begin this morning turn with me to:
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
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.
The Apostle Paul confirms that the law was, is, and always will be insufficient to bring peace of mind and right relationship to a troubled sinner. It uniformly fails to act peacefully whether upon a sinner or upon a saint … the law condemns everyone alike -Jew, Gentile, lost and saved, sinner or saint – the law condemns everyone alike straight to hell.
Therefore by the deeds of the law no man will be justified in God’s sight.
This was also so in Jesus’ day. Remember the young rich ruler who came to Jesus, (Mark 10:17ff), and asked what he could do to inherit eternal life? He was filled with “self-righteousness”, but he was still troubled in his mind. He had no peace even though he admitted to piously keeping the law virtually all of his life. The law did not produce a right relationship with God because righteousness only comes by faith and the law brought him only fear.
The law demands we continue to think about sin, (Hebrews 10), while the Gospel creates a righteousness consciousness. How - Through justification by faith in God’s Word and finished Work of Jesus. This is the Gospel!
Justification comes only by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ – it cannot come by works of the law – for by the law all the world becomes guilty before God. (Romans 3:19) But under the grace of the Gospel, even God forgets sin. The law was incapable of bringing about justification.
This is no fault of the law – the law is good and holy, perfect and true - but rather the fault lies with sin. Sin found an opportunity and took advantage of the law hoping to destroy life as God intended.
Romans 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
Not the law itself, but sin taking occasion by the law - “it killed me”
The law fails to produce peace, sanctification and justification but rather leaves condemnation, guilt and punishment in its wake all because of sin.
The Gospel has however, made us free from the law as a matter of obligation. Free from sin but not free to sin, (Romans 6), – free from sin so that we might serve God with a clean conscious by the faith which is in Christ Jesus, Messiah of the Jews, Savior of the World, Son of God and Son of Man – the Mediator between God and man, the perfect sacrifice, a spotless Lamb, who took away the sins of the world.
The Apostle Paul penned the 7th chapter of Romans to reveal the nature of man and the nature of the law acting upon man’s imperfections. Regardless of whether the man is unregenerate or born again – no man can be perfect in the eyes of the law. If that were possible, Christ would have died in vain.
Galatians 2:21 "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."
The nature of the law is to judge, condemn and punish imperfection – unrighteousness – whereas, the nature of the Gospel is to forgive, encourage and reward faith which covers imperfection by the grace of God’s love and forgiveness. Love covers the multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
This then is our hope? We are delivered from all the evils of sin and judgments of the law in accordance with the Gospel, only by Jesus Christ!
To amplify this truth, the Apostle Paul wrote Romans 7 as a testimony to the continued wretchedness of man in the eyes of the law. Temptations and failures, disappointments and sin continued to plague even this saintly Apostle. He recognized that when he wanted to do good, evil was always present tempting him to do those things which he should not. He concluded his thoughts in chapter 7 with this exclamation:
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Paul taught that although the law brought the knowledge of sin, it provided no power over sin. The power over sin comes through Jesus Christ and the Gospel of God’s grace.
Knowledge of sin comes by the law but power over sin comes only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Romans 7 reveals that equally, both before salvation and afterwards, the law is incapable of producing peace and holiness. Romans 8 is a continuation of Romans 7. It continues the thought by bringing remedy to the problem the law faces when dealing with the our sins.
The Gospel explains that it is impossible for the law to give life, much less eternal life, because of sin. Man cannot rid himself of sin by keeping the law. If the law could have produced the relationship God wanted between Him and mankind, then the blood of bulls and goats would not have ceased to have been offered. However, to settle the question of the law and close the books on eternal judgment and damnation, God opened a new door of justification which He made available to mankind. God called this new door, “Good News” – the Gospel.
Now every person regardless of their condition or situation of life can come into Christ and escape judgment all by faith. This is the Gospel message.
This is the heart of the message of Romans and specifically Romans 8.
What was impossible to be accomplished by the law of sin and death was done through the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
The law’s office is to judge, the Gospel’s office is to pardon – not excuse, but to provide forgiveness to the one who is without perfection.
The law accomplished what it was established to accomplish however, God wanted more. The law pointed out sin – the gospel pointed the way to salvation. The result of the law was judgment, the fruit of the gospel is forgiveness. The effect of the law was separation, the culmination of the gospel is restoration.
God wants relationship – a right relationship with mankind. If the devil cannot keep a person from being saved then he will do his best to bring that person under the law so that they will continue to live in condemnation and fear of separation, feeling guilty before God, only waiting for the hammer to fall and expose their imperfections.
Galatians 3 (Condensed)
O foolish Galatians – Having begun in the spirit will you now be made perfect by the flesh? – Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness – No one is justified by the law in the sight of God, that is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul called the Galatians foolish to have been made free from the law through Jesus Christ and then to allow someone else to put them under another set of ridged rules to live by as though they were still trying to please God with their self righteous acts. The just shall live by their faith, both Old and New Testament saints were justified by faith in God’s Word looking either forward in time or back in time to the Messiah God promised would come as a Lamb to take away the sins of the world.
By this we are justified – what does justified actually mean?
We are justified by faith – J U S T - I F - I E D – “Just if I’d never sinned!”
No one is without sin however, when we come to Christ by faith in His finished work, we are saved and it is just as if we had never sinned. Our conscious can be clear and clean because we believe in Jesus. This is a new law God enacted through Jesus called the law of the spirit of life.
1 ¶ There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The whole chapter is an affirmation of the Gospel … The Gospel
1. Does what the law could never do – Romans 8:1-13
a. The Gospel gives life
b. The Gospel frees from condemnation
2. Produces a spirit of adoption – Romans 8:14-17
a. The Gospel provides leadership
b. The Gospel creates relationship
c. The Gospel affirms identity
d. The Gospel assures inheritance
3. Gives hope to the weary soul – Romans 8:18-25
a. The Gospel promises greater glory
b. The Gospel rewards perseverance
4. Sustains our weaknesses – Romans 8:26-27
a. The Gospel understands our trials
b. The Gospel provides an Intercessor Who ever with us
5. Assures our good – Romans 8:28-29
a. The Gospel works all things together for both our good and God’s purpose
b. The Gospel conforms us to God’s will
c. The Gospel confirms us as God’s kids
6. Secures the Believer – Romans 8:30
a. The Gospel identifies every Believer
b. The Gospel calls every Believer
c. The Gospel justifies every Believer
d. The Gospel glorifies every Believer
7. Wins and makes us winners! – Romans 8:31-39
a. The Gospel assures victory
b. The Gospel freely gives us all things
c. The Gospel discharges every accusation against you
d. The Gospel invalidates separation
e. The Gospel empowers super overcomers
f. The Gospel persuades everyone
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"),
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.