Church Life series - Justification by Faith Romans 4:5
- Bank statement…
- Reflection of something true…
- Isn’t the money…
- Popular… drag it out and count it
- Doctrine isn’t valuable in itself… it is valuable in the fact that it articulates!
- Nature of God… Nature of Christ… of Salvation… if you have ever communicated any biblical truth you have engaged in the process of formulating theology of stating doctrine.
- The church throughout the ages has… when they have focused on Scripture and heard its Words as God intended… known God and his truth.
- There was a time when after years of withholding the value of Scripture the church went through a reformation…
- Key: Justification by Faith
Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.”
- Ever get those phone calls…
- Normally just when you sit down at the table…
- They like to call at dinner to tell you “You have already been selected for one of three great prizes!!”
- And once you have listened to their spiel…
- You find out the free holiday will cost you hundreds of dollars… the free gym membership is three months… but you have to sign up for a year… or the shipping and handling on you free chef’s knife set… is $65.00
- The free gift of grace… is free… and the church either stands or falls on that truth…
- We are the church… born of the free grace of God… or we are a collection of Pharisees… attempting to live God’s Word and falsely appreciating the gift… and missing the splendour of the one who gives.
My Just Reward… or my due…
4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favour, but as what is due.
- If pay day came and you had put in your hours and there was nothing in your account, no cheque forthcoming you would likely experience a level of distress!
- I WANT WHAT IS DUE TO ME!
- Often people talk of faith in that sense…
- Sadly it is often heard at the funeral of an unbeliever… he was good man… served his community and loved his family….
- Surely he is in heaven now looking down at us all…
- As if salvation were a gift we could buy…
- Sometimes it is more subtle…
- Even amongst those who would profess to be believers
- As sense of earning their standing before God.
- That their works or merit contribute to their salvation…
- Sometimes it is just in our sloppy language…. Were duty is spoke of in more powerful terms than intimacy with God.
- Service over glory…
- My Just reward… what is due?
- Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
- Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- What we have to offer… is imperfect… blemished… and unholy.
- We do not want to work for our salvation for the payment… what would be due to us would be horrific.
- As if we could put God into a debtor’s position where He Owed us our salvation!
- My Just reward… what is due?
- I’d rather not thank-you
Your Gift Lord….
5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
- To the one who does not work…
- Not a system of merit or contribution!
- Not a paycheque or reward…
- It is God who illumines the heart… 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
- Apart from God… no word… no understanding… no salvation…. And works do not accomplish any merit in regards to salvation….
- It is belief… through faith given by God, that we would trust in God…
- And He would justify the ungodly… not the “try hards”… or the meritorious… the ungodly
- Justifies… Justification… declaration of someone being “just” on the basis of the righteousness of Christ.
- By the faith in God, given by God, that we would trust in Him… because of that faith… that originates in Him and through Him… because of that faith… it is credited as righteousness.
- “The doctrine of justification by faith alone affirms the complete sinfulness of all persons, their total inability to deal effectively with their own sin, and the gracious provision through the death of Jesus Christ of a complete atonement for sin, to which persons respond in simple trust without any special claims or merit of their own.” … for what can the sinner bring to the righteous act of a Holy God?
- It is credited to Him… it not an accounting of one’s own righteousness… but the legal and financial word to mean it came from someone else’s account.
- In our case it is not of us… but of Christ!
- It is reinforced when King David… concubine David… adulterer David… concocting a murder scheme David… was not banking on his merit… for if his own activity were at all taken in to account… their would be no debt on God’s part!.... He would have been sunk!
David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
Not of me… Please do not take me in account dear Lord… I am not interested in My Just Reward… or my due…
7 "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.”
- There is no combination of Jesus and…
- Or God and…
- Works and…
- "This doctrine [justification by faith] is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour…”
- Truly the church becomes the church of humankind versus the church of God when justification is us pleading our merits before a holy and righteous God.
- But this is of GREAT relief…
- The quality of our assurance rests in the Glory of God.
- When we are weak… he stays strong… not our merit in strength or weakness… but His…
- John Bunyan… Baptist Preacher in jail for “preaching without a license”.
- Despairing in jail his view of Justification by Faith came ever clearer…
- “But poor wretch as I was! I was all this while ignorant of Jesus Christ; and going about to establish my own righteousness; and had perished therein, had not God in mercy showed me more of my state by nature.”
- A right view of God demands a right view of ourselves… Justification by faith Alone in Christ Alone reminds us that we have nothing to contribute to our own righteousness before God… and if measured on any of our merits would come up vastly short!
- But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.
- The churches strength is not what can WE accomplish… but what can God accomplish… when it is our fortification… it will be over run by the world… when it is God… “the very gates of hell will not prevail against her!”
- Seek the Glory of the Almighty… by faith given from above…. Trust in Him!
Protestantism Roman Catholicism
Objective (for us) Subjective (to/in us)
Justification Justification is
issues in Sanctification Sanctification
Reckoned as Righteous Becoming Righteous