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FAR EASTERN BIBLE COLLEGE-BILBLE COLLEGE OF EASTAFRICA

BY WESLEY NGENO

TITLE IMPORTANCE OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULLFILLMENT OF REQUIREMENTS FOR BACHELOR OF MINISTRY AT BIBLE COLLEGE OF EAST AFRICA

TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS....................................................................................................................ii INTRODUCTION..............................................................................................................................1

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INTRODUCTION I have considered writing about Justification by faith because we all need to know about what Jesus Christ has done for us. Many religions think that we are saved through works especially in Catholics. I chose to write on this doctrine with an intention to dispel the belief that salvation is by works. Paul very often expressed this doctrine regarding grace and salvation in terms of "justification by faith," and not by "works," or "works of the law." Protestant Christians often place great emphasis on these words, but without understanding them correctly, in the light of Catholic Tradition. As I prepared this message, I was just blessed once again to realize what Jesus had done for me. Romans 3:34, Paul said "being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Now notice being justified freely, how? By his grace and look down at Verse 28, "Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."It is my prayer and desire that every Christian may have a deeper understanding regarding this doctrine of justification and be able to give credit to God and not oneself because we are saved by grace alone not by works.

Justification by faith is what separates Biblical Christianity from all other belief systems. In every religion, and in some branches of what is called “Christianity,” man is working his way to God. Only in true, biblical Christianity is man saved as a result of grace through faith. Only when we get back to the Bible do we see that justification is by faith, apart from works. Therefore, justification, in Christian theology, is God's act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time declaring a sinner righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice. In Protestantism, righteousness from God is viewed as being credited to the sinner's account through faith alone, without works.

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The means of justification is an area of significant difference between Catholics/Eastern Orthodox and Protestants. Broadly speaking, Catholic and Orthodox Christians distinguish between initial justification, which in their view occurs at baptism, and permanent justification, accomplished after a lifetime of striving to do God's will. Most Protestants believe that justification is a singular act in which God declares an unrighteous individual to be righteous, an act made possible because Christ was legally "made sin" while on the cross (2 Cor 5:21). Justification is granted to all who exercise faith, and that is viewed as a gift from God (unmerited favour) by Lutherans and Calvinists, who use Eph 2:8, as well as Acts 16:14 and Phil 1:29 to support that belief. Catholics and Eastern Orthodox use James 2:14-26, Galatians 5:19-21 and Matthew 19:17 to support their belief that justification is kept through avoiding grave sins. Justification is seen by Protestants as being the theological fault line that divided Catholic from Protestant during the Protestant Reformation.

Why is justification by faith such an important doctrine? Kurt Aland asserted that the teaching of justification by faith is what separates biblical Christianity from all other belief systems. In every religion, and in some branches of what is called “Christianity,” man is working his way to God. Only in true, Biblical Christianity is man saved as a result of grace through faith. Only when we get back to the Bible do we see that justification is by faith, apart from works.

The word justified means “pronounced or treated as righteous.” For a Christian, justification is the act of God not only forgiving the believer’s sins but imputing to him the righteousness of Christ. The Bible states in several places that justification only comes through faith alone (e.g., Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24). Justification is not earned through our own works; rather, we are covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5). The Christian, being declared righteous, is thus freed from the guilt of sin. 4

Justification is a completed work of God, and it is instantaneous, as opposed to sanctification, which is an ongoing process of growth by which we become more Christlike (the act of “being saved,” cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Sanctification occurs after justification.

Understanding the doctrine of justification is important for a Christian. First, it is the very knowledge of justification and of grace that motivates good works and spiritual growth; thus, justification leads to sanctification. Also, the fact that justification is a finished work of God means that Christians have assurance of their salvation. In God’s eyes, believers have the righteousness necessary to gain eternal life. Once a person is justified, there is nothing else he needs in order to gain entrance into heaven. Since justification comes by faith in Christ, based on His work on our behalf, our own works are disqualified as a means of salvation (Romans 3:28). There exist vast religious systems with complex theologies that teach the false doctrine of justification by works. But they are teaching “a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6–7).

Without an understanding of justification by faith alone, we cannot truly perceive the glorious gift of grace—God’s “unmerited favor” becomes “merited” in our minds, and we begin to think we deserve salvation. The doctrine of justification by faith helps us maintain “pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Holding to justification by faith keeps us from falling for the lie that we can earn heaven. There is no ritual, no sacrament, no deed that can make us worthy of the righteousness of Christ. It is only by His grace, in response to our faith, that God has credited to us the holiness of His Son. Both Old and New Testaments say, “The just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38) Jordan Lavender indicated that the glorious truth of the Christian religion, in contrast with the philosophy of man, is the truth that God has loved us in such a manner that He has sent His one and 5

only Son to die on our behalf. This sacrificial death has opened the doors of heaven to us, miserable sinners, and, through no merit of our own, God has chosen to love us and put Himself in relation to us. This great mystery of the Christian faith is just that, a mystery, "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:23-24). This Gospel of grace we preach is a mystery to us, yet, we continue to preach it because we know that God has revealed his love to us in the Scriptures. The lavish graciousness of God is the subject of this essay and the firm foundation upon which we base our belief. It is in this spirit that the English Articles of Religion rightfully proclaim this a "most wholesome doctrine".

Why is this doctrine of such an importance for welfare of the Church? Simply, it is crucial because it denies man any positive role in his salvation. Justification is the "office of God" as the Homily would put it. The Bible teaches justification by faith alone, thus denying man the possibility to work towards his salvation. This is such a crucial point because works righteousness is the natural response of fallen man. The impulse of our hearts is to work to please God, yet, the Bible outright denies this possibility in many places. One such place is in St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Because all men be sinners and offenders against God, and breakers of his law and commandments, therefore can no man by his own acts, works, and deeds, seem they never so good, be justified and made righteous before God; but every man of necessity is constrained to seek for another righteousness or justification, to be received at God's own hands, that is to say, the remission, pardon, and forgiveness of his sins and trespasses in such things as he hath offended. And this justification or righteousness, which we so receive by God's mercy and Christ's merits, embraced by faith, is taken, accepted, and allowed of God for our perfect and full justification" (pg. 24). This brings up the key issues at hand. First, the doctrine of justification must be understood in conjunction with our theology of man. We must acknowledge the sinfulness of man, the utter and 6

total inability of man to turn himself to God for salvation, "There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understand, there is none that seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one... for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:10-12, 23). This is the starting point to understanding the wonder of God's grace on our behalf. When we realize our total inability to approach God, a work of grace in itself, it is then that God begins his work within us. The Homily goes on to mention the three aspects of justification

"In these foresaid places the Apostle touched specially three things, which must got together in our justification: upon God's part, his great mercy and grace; upon Christ's part, justice, that is, the satisfaction of God's justice, or the price of our redemption by the offering of his body and shedding of his blood with fulfilling of the law perfectly and thoroughly; and upon our part, true and lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ; which yet is not ours but by God's working in us" (pg. 26). This part highlights another important aspect of the whole picture, that being, the price of our sinfulness and turning away from God. As the Scriptures proclaim, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). The twofold realization that, first, the price of our sin is death, yet, the gracious gift of God is life in Christ Jesus. Once we have acknowledged that we are in need of justification, or an acquittal of our wrongdoings, we can proceed to understand the next aspects of our justification in Christ.

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CHAPTER ONE IMPORTANCE OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (ROMANS 5:1) The word Justified means “pronounced or treated as righteous.” For a Christian, justification is the act of God not only forgiving the believer’s sins but imputing to him the righteousness of Christ. The Bible states in several places that justification only comes through faith alone (e.g., Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24). Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Heb11:1–3). By faith, the doctrine of creation ex nihilo (“out of nothing”), not evolution, is to be received. By faith, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity transcends the principles of mathematics. By faith the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Christ cannot be taught but by worshipful reverence. Theology is not only a science, but a “met science,” if we may coin a new word. Nor can any man intrude into the study of theology without becoming a Christian, a born-again Christian.

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). But the natural man received not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14). So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17). Nominal Christians can go through a liberal and modernistic seminary and obtain a PhD in theology. But they will come out preaching themselves, not Jesus Christ the Lord. They will lord over their congregations with their own conceited ideas, “even denying the Lord that bought them, 8

and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet 2:1). “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5) is our devout emphasis. So, it is of utmost importance that we examine the credentials of the teacher of theology. Not only must he be born again but also have received a mandate to teach, like Timothy from Paul, “And the things that thou has theard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). It is of the utmost importance for a teacher of theology to be thoroughly scrutinized before he can be taken on the faculty of any fundamental Bible College or Seminary. “Know ye not that a little leaven leavened the whole lump?” (1 Cor 5:6). Fuller Seminary which was founded in 1947 by Charles Fuller of the Old-fashioned Revival Hour succumbed to liberalism in a matter of years. Princeton Seminary, though a proven stalwart of the faith from its founding in 1812, finally fell in 1929, J Gresham Machen notwithstanding.

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CHAPTER TWO: WE HAVE ACCESS WITH GOD (ROMANS 5:2) Justification is a completed work of God, and it is instantaneous, as opposed to sanctification, which is an ongoing process of growth by which we become more Christ like (the act of “being saved,” cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Sanctification occurs after justification. How do you access God? A popular catch phrase in today’s Christianity talks about “experiencing God.” On the other side of the spectrum of Christianity, in the Catholic camp - people are afraid to even try to approach God or get Him to approach them. They are told to pray to the saints - who can then pray for them. Even when they die they do not feel ready to access God - but feel assigned to go to a place called purgatory where they can be properly prepared to meet him. Others just try and ignore the whole concept of getting access to God. They tell themselves that when they die they’ll just become plant food or be recycled into a butterfly. They try and make this life so pleasurable that they won’t even think about what will happen in the future. What they ignore is the fact they will have to meet God. When Jacob had to return to the Promised Land, he knew that he had to face Esau - his angry brother whom he had cheated of the birthright. So he tried to appease his brother with riches and flattery. When Esther tried to approach the evil but powerful king Xerxes, she did her best to make herself look as good as possible so he would allow her to come into His presence. The holy God cannot be approached this way. You can’t give God anything - because He already owns it all. You can’t do anything to impress God so that He’ll allow you to come near Him. Imagine seeing an eagle flying overhead and screaming to it, “come down! Come down! It doesn’t work that way. The eagle speaks a different language - is not attracted to someone waving his arms and screaming. He’s holy - and only holiness will attract Him. You can’t coerce God into coming to you by trying to 10

provide the right atmosphere or by bringing in Tony Robbins or any other seemingly impressive speaker. Prayer doesn’t convince Him to come into your heart. That’s not how it works. This is a God who demands perfection. (Matthew 5:48) Let’s be honest about it. This is a God who will send millions of sinful and rebellious people to hell. (Matthew 7:13) This is a God who cannot be mocked or impressed or tricked into letting anyone into heaven who doesn’t belong there. Heaven and holiness is too high a wall for any mere mortal to climb.

How DO we approach Him? Our holy God has provided a completely different way to access Him. Paul told the Romans - since we have been justified through faith, . . . we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. (Ro 5:1-2) In order to approach God, our God first approached us by becoming the man Jesus Christ. Out of love for us - His creatures - He decided to destroy that barrier of sinfulness that divided us. Jesus lived the life that God demanded of us. He died the death that we deserved to die. He went through the hell that God pronounced on us. When Jesus rose from the dead, God declared the world “not guilty” - He justified us. This is a done deal. Paul told the Romans WE HAVE BEEN justified. The first thing God did was to remove His anger problem over our sins.

The next thing God had to do was to give us the courage to approach Him. But how? When we see how holy and righteous God is - like Adam and Eve all we want to do is run! How do we who are born as rebellious sinners - blind to this invisible and holy God - get this faith? That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. In order to approach God, He has to approach us and enter us. God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Through the Word of God calls out to us as we hide from God - “My Son has paid for your sins! You’re holy! You’re forgiven.

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Justification brings peace and a joyous hope Standing in the grace of God does some wonderful things for us. First of all, we have peace with God. Peace with God comes from knowing that He loves us in Christ. You’ll never have that peace if you don’t stand in grace. If you try to stand in the presence of God based on works - you’ll always be nervous.

True peace with God comes to us when God says to us, “you are one ugly person. I can’t stand to look at you. Your breath stinks, you’re out of shape, and you aren’t worthy of me. Here, take this outfit of righteousness - put it on. Keep it on. Take these works of my Son. Take this holiness of Christ. Take this faith from the Holy Spirit. Take this love. Let me love you.” When we realize that God loves us as a gift of mercy and accepts us based on Christ, it gives us true peace. It’s kind of like when you get married to a fellow Christian. You both vow to stick together with one another for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do you part. If you both take your vows seriously, there’s some permanence there.

The second gift of standing in the grace of God is being able to rejoice in hope. Paul says, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Abraham was the epitome of what Paul is talking about here. As an old man at 75 years old, God promised Abraham that he would make him into a great nation and bless all peoples through him through a Savior to come. But before God ever game Abraham this gift, He told him to move to a new country - one that he’d never been to. For the rest of his life, Abraham had to live in a tent. Throughout this time his nephew chose the best land and was taken captive. Abram then had to endure the sin of having a child with Hagar - and then suffer the ridicule of changing his name at the age of 99. He couldn’t hope in his flesh - he and Sara were old. He couldn’t trust in his 12

righteousness - he’d committed adultery with Hagar and had an illegitimate child with her. No, Abraham could only hold onto God’s promise of a Savior through his offspring. He continued to hope through faith in God’s grace! This developed Abraham into a man of perseverance and character as well. Character means that Abraham left things in God’s hands and trusted in what God promised him - doing it even though it didn’t make sense - because he believed that God was gracious enough to do it.

When we stand in the grace of God - based on His mercy - we can stand with hope. God promises us that all things work out for the good of those who love Him. He promises us that because of Jesus death and resurrection - those of us who trust in Jesus will end up in heaven. If someone bad mouths us, God will work it out. If we are unfairly fired from our jobs, we’ll still end up in heaven. Even if we still have many weaknesses and sins, we still hope that when we die we’ll be in heaven because we stand in grace. We don’t look at every failure or pain as a punishment from God - but a development of character in us. It’s this hope that keeps us going. It’s this hope that gives us perseverance. It’s this approval from God that gives us the character to do what’s right no matter what people say about us. That’s what happens when we stand in God’s grace.

When Moses approached God at the burning bush, God said to him, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Ex 3:5) He told Moses to leave his sandals behind. I believe that many of us are trying to walk into God’s presence with our sandals still on. The only problem is that we’ve been walking through manure, and our feet stink. As you enter into the presence of the Triune God, the LORD says to you - leave your sandals at the door. As a matter of fact, take all your clothes off - and wear this brand new clothing - the clothing of Christ. What He means is, if you want to stand in the presence of God - you have to stand in God’s grace. That means leaving your sins at the cross – leaving your righteousness at the door 13

and totally entering under the righteousness of Christ. When we do this, it makes all of us look equal and holy. It leaves all of our stenches behind. So if you find yourself being uneasy and pessimistic about life - worried about what will happen - remember to put your worries at the door. Enter into the grace of God - through faith in Christ - and enjoy the presence of God - gazing at his holiness from now until eternity.

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CHAPTER THREE WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER THE SCHOOLMASTER (GALATIANS 3:24) For a Christian, justification is the act of God not only forgiving the believer’s sins but imputing to him the righteousness of Christ. The Bible states in several places that justification only comes through faith alone (e.g; Galatians 3:24). The law was superadded four hundred years after Abraham’s death, not to draw away the chosen people from Christ, but rather to keep them waiting for His Coming. By the word law, I mean not only the Decalogue, but also the ceremonies; in short, the whole legal worship which contained shadows and figures of the promised Christ. These ceremonies were instituted“ according to the pattern shewed to thee [Moses] in the mount” (Heb 8:5;Exod 25:40; Acts 7:44). For unless there had been some spiritual design, to which they were directed, the Jews would have laboured to no purpose in these observances.

By the way, it must be remarked that the kingdom, which was finally raised in the family of David, is a part of the law of Moses. Whence it follows that, both in the posterity of David, and in the whole Levitical tribe, as a twofold mirror, Christ was exhibited to His ancient people. Paul asserts that the Jews under the law were subject, as it were, to a schoolmaster, till the coming of Christ (Gal 3:24). For Christ being not yet familiarly discovered, they were like children, whose imbecility could not yet bear the full knowledge of heavenly things. But how they were led to Christ by the ceremonies, has been already stated, and may be better learned from the testimonies of the Prophets. For although they were obliged to approach God with new sacrifices daily, yet Isaiah promises them the expiation of all their transgressions by a single sacrifice (Isa53:5), which is confirmed by Daniel (Dan 9:26). Particularly, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, from Chapters 4 to 11, demonstrates that, irrespective of Christ, all the Mosaic ceremonies are worthless 15

and vain. With regard to the Decalogue, we should heed Paul’s declaration, that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom 10:4), and also that Christ is “that Spirit” (2 Cor 3:17) who gives “life” to the otherwise dead letter (2 Cor 3:6). By these, Paul signifies that the righteousness is taught in vain in the precepts till Christ bestows it, both by a gratuitous imputation and by the Spirit of regeneration. Wherefore, he justly denominates Christ the completion or end of the law.

By the instructions of the moral law, which is comprehended in the Decalogue, we are seized with a sense of guilt that excites us to supplicate for pardon. While the law rewards us with eternal life if we righteously obey it, it is weak at this point, in that none of us is able to observe the law. Therefore, the end result of trying merely to keep the law to attain to eternal life is to discover ourselves excluded from the promises of life, and fall entirely under the curse. Therefore, if we direct our views exclusively to the law, the effects upon our mind will only be despondency, confusion and despair, since it condemns and curses us all, and keeps us far from that blessedness which it proposes to them who observe it. Nevertheless, the law is given not in vain. For, when we have learned that the law is inefficacious to us, then, we discover that God has graciously received us, without any regard to our works, if we now embrace His goodness by faith.

Our assertion on man’s impossibility of observing the law has been earlier denounced by Jerome. I regard not Jerome’s opinion, but let us inquire what is truth. I say it is impossible for man fully to keep the law because no one has ever done it nor ever shall be able by the decree and ordination of God. There are those who foolishly imagine that some saints can excel even the angels of heaven in purity; but such imagination is repugnant both to Scripture and the dictates of experience. Solomon says, “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sin not”(Eccl 7:20). David reiterates, “In thy sight shall no man living be justified”(Ps 143:2). Job, in many passages, affirms the same 16

thing (Job 4:17; 9:2;15:14; 25:4); but Paul most plainly of all, that “the flesh lusted against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (Gal 5:17). Nor does he prove, that “as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse,” by any other reason but because “It is written, Cursed is every one that continue not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal3:10). It is impossible in this carnal state to fulfill the law, if we consider the impotence of our nature, as will elsewhere be proved also from Paul (Rom 8:3). “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20).This is the first office of the law, and it is experienced in sinners not yet regenerated. It becomes “the ministration of the death,” which worked wrath and slay (2 Cor 3:7; Rom 4:15). And, as Augustine says, if we have not the Spirit of grace, the law serves only to convict and slay us. But this assertion neither reflects dishonour on the law, nor at all derogates from its excellence.

For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise (Gal. 3:18). The promise concerning Christ was made before the Mosaic Law was given, and that promise holds as good as though there had been no law given. The question arises: Why was the Law given, of what value is it? Now don't think that Paul is playing down the Law. Rather, he is trying to help the people understand the purpose of the Law. He shows the Law in all of its majesty, in its fullness, and in its perfection. But he shows that this very perfection the Law demands creates a hurdle which you and I cannot get over in order to be accepted of God. The law was given that we might recognize that we are lost, so God can then swoop in and save us! Now listen to Paul as he talks about the purpose of the Law. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator (Gal. 3:19). 17

Paul says it was something that was added. It was added because -- or better still -- for the sake of transgressions. "Till the seed should come" -- that little word till is an important time word. It means the Law was temporary. The Law was given for the interval between the time of Moses until the time of Christ. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). It is very important to see that the Law was temporary "until the seed should come" -- and that Seed is Christ. The Law was added "because of (for the sake of) transgressions. It was given to reveal sin, not to remove sin. It was not given to keep man from sin because sin had already come. It was to show man himself as being a natural, ugly, crude sinner before God. Any man who is honest will look at himself in the light of the Law and see himself guilty. It was not given as a standard by which man becomes holy. You would never become holy this way, because, first of all, you can't keep the Law in your own strength.

Many people think that man becomes a sinner when he commits a sinful act, that he is all right until he breaks down and commits sin. This is not true. It is because he is already a sinner that a man commits an act of sin. A man steals because he is a thief. A man lies because he is a liar. Some of us commit more serious lying than that. Why do we do it? We have that fallen nature. And the Law was given to show that we are sinners, and that you and I need a mediator -- One to stand between us and God, One to help us out.

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law (Gal. 3:21). The expression "God forbid" means certainly not. Why? If there had been another way of saving sinners, God would have used that way. If He could have given a law by which sinners could be saved, He would have done so. 18

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe (Gal. 3:22). We have seen that the Law brought death -- "The soul that sinneth, it shall die..." (Ezek. 18:20). The Scripture has "concluded all under sin"; therefore all died. What is needed, therefore, is life. We have seen that the Law brings death, which is all that it can do. It is not actually the degree of sin but the mere fact of sin that brings death. Hence, all are equally dead and equally in need. You may not have committed as great a sin as Hitler committed, but you and I have the same kind of nature that he had. In fact, it was Goethe, the great German writer, who made this statement: "I have never seen a crime committed but what I too might have committed that crime." He recognized he had that kind of a nature. It is not the degree of sin, but the very fact that we are sinners that brings death.

The Mosaic Law cannot give you life any more than a natural law can give you life after you have broken it and died. You cannot reverse the situation and come back from the street below to the top of the building and live, as it is done in running a movie in reverse. Death follows wherever sin comes. The law of sin knows nothing of extenuating circumstances. It knows nothing about mercy. It has no elasticity. It is inflexible, inexorable, and immutable. God's Word says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die..." (Ezek. 18:20). To Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden God said, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). And in Exodus 34:7, He says that He"...will by no means clear the guilty...." Therefore, all have sinned and by the Law we are all dead. The Law slew us. It is called by Paul a "...ministration of death..." (2Cor. 3:7). It is a ministration of condemnation. The Law condemns all of us.

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Can the Law bring life? The Law can no more bring life than a fall from a high roof can bring life to one who died by that fall. The purpose of the Law was never to give life. It was given to show us that we are guilty sinners before God, hopeless, and in need of a Savior. "The scripture hath concluded all under sin that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe" is a tremendous statement. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed (Gal. 3:23). "Before faith came" means, of course, faith in Jesus Christ who died for us. Until the Lord Jesus Christ came, the Law had in it mercy because it had a mercy seat. It had an altar where sacrifices for sin could be brought and forgiveness could be obtained. Mercy could be found there. All the sacrifices for sin pointed to Christ. Before faith came, Paul says, we were kept under the Law -"shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed." Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24).

This is a remarkable section. Paul is making it very clear here that the Mosaic Law could not save. Romans 4:5 tells us, "But to him that worked not, but believeth on him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." God refused to accept the works of man for salvation. God says that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). God refuses to accept law-keeping. The Law cannot save; it can only condemn. It was not given to save sinners but to let them know that they were sinners. The Law does not remove sin; it reveals sin. It will not keep you from sin, because sin has already come. The Law shows that man is not the way Hollywood portrays him -- a sophisticated, refined, trained sinner. Man is actually an ugly sinner in the raw. However, multitudes of people in our churches are rubbing up against the mirror of the law thinking they are going to remove their sin. The Word of God is a mirror which shows us who we are and 20

what we are -- that we are sinners and that we have come short of the glory of God. That is what the Law reveals. But, thank God, beneath the mirror there is a basin. That is where you remove the spot. It is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that cleanses. The Law proves man a sinner; it never makes him a saint. The Law was given, as Paul says in Romans, that every mouth might be stopped and the whole world become guilty before God (see Rom. 3:19). "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster," Paul says. Now he will go on to tell us what he means by this.

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal. 3:25). "Schoolmaster" is the Greek paidagogos (pedagogue), and it doesn't mean school teacher. Schoolmaster is a good word, but it meant something quite different back in the days of Paul. It meant a servant or a slave who was part of a Roman household. Half of the Roman Empire was slave. Of the 120 million, 60 million were slaves. In the home of a patrician, a member of the Praetorian Guard, or the rich in the Roman Empire, were slaves that cared for the children. When a child was born into such a home, he was put in the custody of a servant or a slave who actually raised him. He put clean clothes on him, bathed him, blew his nose when it was necessary, and paddled him when he needed it. When the little one grew to a certain age and was to start to school, this servant was the one who got him up in the morning, dressed him, and took him to school. (That is where he got the name of paidagogos. Paid has to do with the feet -- and we get our words pedal or pedestrian from it; agogos means "to lead.") It means that he takes the little one by the hand, leads him to school, and turns him over to the school teacher. This servant, the slave, was not capable of teaching him beyond a certain age, so he took him to school.

Now what Paul is saying here is that the Law is our paidagogos. The Law said, "Little fellow, I can't do any more for you. I now want to take you by the hand and bring you to the cross of Christ. You 21

are lost. You need a Savior." The purpose of the Law is to bring men to Christ -- not to give them an expanded chest so they can walk around claiming they keep the Law. You know you don't keep the Law; all you have to do is examine your own heart to know that.

For we are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26). Paul is going to show in the remainder of this chapter, and in the first part of chapter 4, some of the benefits that come to us by trusting Christ that we could never receive under law. The Law never could give a believer the nature of a son of God. Christ can do that. Only faith in Christ can make us sons of God.

In this verse the word children is from the Greek huios, meaning "sons." Only faith in Christ can make us legitimate sons of God. I use the word legitimate for emphasis, because the only sons God has are legitimate sons. You are made a true son of God by faith in Christ, and that is all it takes. Not faith plus something equals salvation, but faith plus nothing makes you a son of God. Nothing else can make you a son of God. "For ye are all sons of God." How? "By faith in Christ Jesus." An individual Israelite under the Law in the Old Testament was never a son, only a servant. God called the nation "Israel my son" (see Exod. 4:22), but the individual in that corporate nation was never called a son. He was called a servant of Jehovah. For example, Moses was on very intimate terms with God; yet God said of him, "Moses my servant is dead" (see Josh. 1:2). That was his epitaph. Also, although David was a man after God's own heart, God calls him "David my servant" (see 1Kings 11:38).

So, even if you kept the Law, which you could not do, your righteousness would still be inferior to the righteousness of God. Sonship requires His righteousness, you see. The New Testament definitely tells us, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, 22

even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). We are given the power (Greek exousian, meaning "the authority, the right") to become the sons of God by doing no more nor less than simply trusting Him. A Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus, religious to his fingertips, followed the Law meticulously, yet he was not a son of God. Jesus said to him, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). I want to be dogmatic and very plain -- neither your prayers, your fundamental separation, your gifts, your church membership, nor your baptism will ever make you a son of God. Only faith in Christ can make you a son of God.

The most damnable heresy today is the "universal Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man." It is this teaching of liberalism that has caused this nation to give away billions of dollars throughout the world, and because of it we are hated everywhere. All people are the children of God, they say, and so we have sat at council tables and have engaged in diplomatic squabbles with some of the biggest rascals the world has ever seen. We talk about being honest and honorable, that we are all the children of God, and we must act like sons of God. Now socialism claims that the gospel is for Christians to take care of the poor of the world. Well, the Lord Jesus Christ never said anything like that. If we give to them, it is to gain the opportunity to share the true gospel w/ them and give them real hope...a hand up, not just a handout! Jesus didn't consider everyone His child and responsibility. He once looked at a group of religious rulers and said to them, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do..." (John 8:44). Now I did not say that; gentle Jesus said that. Evidently there were some people in His day who were not sons of God. I think the

Devil still has a lot of children running around in this world today. They are not all the sons of God! The only way you can become a son of God is through faith in Jesus Christ. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27).

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I hope you realize that this verse is not a reference to water baptism. Water baptism is ritual baptism, and it is for every believer. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not of water, and places you in the body of believers. Paul says, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1Cor. 12:13). This means that we are identified, we are put in reality and truth into the body of believers, the church. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." God sees you in Christ. Therefore He sees you as perfect! There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28).

In this body of believers "there is neither Jew nor Greek." In Christ are no racial lines. Any man in Christ is my brother, and I don't care about the color of his skin. It is the color of his heart that interests me. There are a lot of white people walking around with black hearts, my friend, and they are not my brothers. It is only in Christ Jesus that we are made one. Thank God, I receive letters from folk of every race. They call me brother and I call them brother -- because we are brothers. We are one in Christ, and we will be together throughout eternity. "There is neither bond nor free." In our day, capital and labor are at odds with one another. Wall Street and Main Street seem to be enemies now. The only thing that can bring them together is Christ, of course. "There is neither male nor female." Christ does what "women's lib" and NOW can never do. He can make us one in Christ. How wonderful it is! And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise [Gal. 3:29]. How can we be Abraham's descendants? Because of the fact that Abraham was saved by faith, and we are saved by faith. Abraham brought a little animal to sacrifice, which looked forward to the coming of the Son of God, the supreme sacrifice. In my day, Christ has already come, and I can 24

look back in history and say, "2,000 years ago the Son of God came and died on the cross for me that I might have life, and I trust Him." If I am in Christ and you are in Christ, then we belong to Abraham's seed, and we are heirs according to the promise. How wonderful this is!

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CHAPTER FOUR WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH CHRIST EPHESIANS 2:8 Justification is not earned through our own works; rather, we are covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5). The Christian, being declared righteous, is thus freed from the guilt of sin.

Salvation is man’s most pressing need. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). The just reward for our sin is death and damnation (Rom. 6:23). We dare not ask for justice. We desperately need mercy. Experience teaches that man is incapable of saving himself from sin’s ruin. If we expect to become righteous by our own achievement we are reminded, “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). If we attempt to earn salvation by good works of morality and religion, we learn that it is “not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves...” that man is saved (Tit. 3:5). Would we justify ourselves by an attempt to keep God’s law perfectly, we will learn that “by the works of the law shall no flesh to justified in his sight...” (Rom. 3:20). Should we by human wisdom set out to find right-standing before God, we are told that “the world through its wisdom knew not God” (I Cor. 1:21).

Without Christ, a sinner is alienated from God’s people, a stranger to the covenants of promise, without God and without hope (Eph. 2:12). In this pitiful plight, we cry out, “Wretched man that I am ! Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?” And the answer comes ringing across the ages, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.7:24-25a).

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We Can Be Saved By Grace The good news of the gospel can be summed up in the words of Paul to the Ephesians, “for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God...” (Eph. 2:8). Grace means a free and unmerited gift or favor. “The New Testament writers use “charis” preeminently of that kindness by which God bestows favor even upon the ill-deserving and grants to sinners pardon of their offences and bids them accept of eternal salvation through Christ”

God Is Love God’s grace springs from his loving nature (I John 4:8). The God of love sent his son to save us from punishment (John 3:16). When the grace of God appeared (i.e., Jesus) bringing salvation to all men, he instructed us as to God’s will for our lives (Tit. 2:11-12). Through “the gospel of the grace of God,” the inspired apostles made known to us the conditions of our forgiveness (Acts 20:24). By grace God gave us his holy church to see that each person has opportunity to be saved and to provide a proper environment for the saved on earth (Heb.12:28). The grace of our Lord has prepared for us an infallible record (the Bible) on which to base our faith and by which to order our lives. This “word of his grace...is able to build (us) up and give (us) the inheritance among all them that are sanctified” (Acts20:32).

God’s grace offers salvation to all people regardless of their race or record. The Lord is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). All earthlings can rejoice that “the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Tit. 2:11).

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What Is Saving Faith? A common mistake in the religious world is misunderstanding the Biblical meaning of faith. This does more than cause inconvenience; it can be fatal. We must look to God’s word for the proper meaning. Saving faith comes from hearing the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). Religious convictions based on human opinions, traditions and doctrines do not qualify. Biblical faith is living and obedient. Nothing avails “ but faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6). Thus, Christ is the author of eternal salvation to all that obey him (Heb. 5:9). Salvation by grace is received by obedient faith! James labels “faith only” as dead and worthless (Jas. 2:24, 26). We see a Biblical demonstration of saving faith in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. The author in numerous examples vividly portrays faith as a trusting heart gladly obeying God’s will. Noah and his family were saved from destruction because he, “moved with godly fear, prepared an ark...and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith “ (Heb. 11:7). The same kind of faith saves us today.

Obedient faith does not attempt to earn or merit salvation. It is evident that we cannot save ourselves. God paid the price and offers us salvation freely upon the condition that we believe in his son and obey his will. Some object that to do anything beyond mental acceptance is to attempt to earn our salvation. Should I offer to send you a coupon for a wonderful gift, free upon the condition that you send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope, surely you would not claim you earned or merited the favor you received. So it is in salvation. Through Christ, God offers free salvation to all who believe and are baptized (Mark 16:16). Those whose faith leads them to do so are saved (Acts 22:16). They in no way place God under obligation. They are simply claiming his gracious offer. This helps us understand Philippians 2:12 which says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

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We are not Saved by Works done in our own Righteousness Our salvation is not of ourselves, not of works, lest any one should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). In every age there have been folks who thought they could achieve salvation by their own efforts. Scripture presents two classic cases for our learning. The proud Pharisaic Jews sought to be justified by the works of the Law of Moses. While acknowledging their zeal for God, Paul wrote of them: “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). Sophisticated Gentile philosophers thought that they could attain salvation by human reason. The same apostle comments that they, “Professing themselves to be wise...became fools” and fell into gross idolatry, “wherefore God gave them up...” (Rom. 1:22-24). The greatest minds “in their wisdom knew not God.” They became foolish in the attempt (I Cor. 1:20-21). Tragically, men are yet trying to save themselves with no better success. Every attempt of man to establish a new kind of church or to introduce a new doctrine or demand in religion is a vain attempt to do it “our way.” Such is doomed to failure. Attempts of sinners to somehow mitigate their vices by great deeds of charity or benevolence have precisely the same internal flaw. Beneficial as these deeds may be to the recipients, they have no saving power. But, they can be fatal to the man trusting in them, for they may lull him into the vain hope that God will be obligated to treat him kindly. Thus he will fail to accept God’s grace on the terms offered

Paul reminded the Ephesians Christians of their salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:4-8). If we do what they did, we too can enjoy the same blessing. They “heard the word of the truth, the gospel of (their) salvation, in whom, having also believed, (they) were sealed ...with the Holy Spirit...” (Eph. 1:13). They were taught the necessity of repentance toward God (Acts 20:21). “And when they heard this they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5). By doing as they did we too will be saved by grace through faith. We must be faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10) else we will have received his grace in vain (II Cor. 6:1). Be assured that “God is able to 29

make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work” (II Cor. 9:8).

It is the supreme discovery of life that we need not punish ourselves in a hopeless effort to earn God’s forgiveness. It is freely offered to all. We must gladly accept his gift of love on the terms offered. A grateful heart will make the best effort to please him. No longer do we as criminals seek by our own strength to escape our chains, rather as faithful children we do our best to please our loving Father. God does not want a faith that is empty and hypocritical. James 2 is talking about those who "say" that they have faith but have no works. Therefore, people cannot tell if they are true believers or not, because there is no fruit. That kind of a faith is useless and is not a saving faith. True faith results in true works. In Matthew 19:16-17, Jesus was speaking to a Lawyer who was self-righteous since he wanted to put Jesus to the test (Luke 10:25). He asked what he must do in order to obtain eternal life and Jesus responded with the requirements of keeping the commandments. If a person keeps all of the commandments, it would seem that they could obtain eternal life. However, nobody can keep all of the commandments. Therefore, Jesus' comments to this man show this man that justification can only be by faith since no one can keep all of the commandments. This is why it says in Eph. 2:8 that we are saved by grace through faith. Also, Romans 3:20,28 and Galatians 2:16 tells us that no one is justified in the sight of God by the law; that is, by the works that he can do. There is no contradiction at all when we examine the contexts. We are justified by faith but that faith must be alive (James 2). The Law cannot save us because we are incapable of keeping it (Matthew 19:16-17). Therefore, salvation is by grace through faith. For more information, please see the paper Are we Justified by Faith (Romans) or by Works (James)? 30

Ephesians 2:8-9 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." Rom. 3:20, 28 - "because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin...For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." Galatians 2:16- "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."

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CHAPTER FIVE WE ARE SAVED BY THE POWER OF GOD 1 CORINTHIANS 1:18 Justification is a completed work of God, and it is instantaneous, as opposed to sanctification, which is an ongoing process of growth by which we become more Christ like (the act of “being saved,” cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18; Sanctification occurs after justification.

The starting-point of this is that the observation that a slight variation of rendering, which will be found in the Revised Version, brings out the true meaning of these words. Instead of reading ‘them that perish’ and ‘us which are saved,’ we ought to read ‘them that are perishing,’ and ‘us which are being saved.’ That is to say, the Apostle represents the two contrasted conditions, not so much as fixed states, either present or future, but rather as processes which are going on, and are manifestly, in the present, incomplete. That opens some very solemn and intensely practical considerations. So, then, we have the ground cleared for two or three very simple, but, as it seems very important thoughts.

Two contrasted conditions, ‘perishing’ and ‘being saved.’ The darker of these two terms if we first ask what is the force of the brighter and more radiant. If we understand what the Apostle means by ‘saving’ and ‘salvation’ we shall understand also what he means by ‘perishing.’ If, then, we turn for a moment to Scripture analogy and teaching, we find that that threadbare word ‘salvation,’ which we all take it for granted that we understand, and which, like a well-worn coin, has been so passed from hand to hand that it scarcely remains legible-that well-worn word ‘salvation’ starts from a double metaphorical meaning. It means either-and is used for both-being healed or being made safe. In the one sense it is often employed in the Gospel narratives of our 32

Lord’s miracles, and it involves the metaphor of a sick man and his cure; in the other it involves the metaphor of a man in peril and his deliverance and security. The negative side, then, of the Gospel idea of salvation is the making whole from a disease, and the making safe from a danger. Negatively, it is the removal from each of us of the one sickness, which is sin; and the one danger, which is the reaping of the fruits and consequences of sin, in their variety as guilt, remorse, habit, and slavery under it, perverted relation to God, a fearful apprehension of penal consequences here, and, if there be a hereafter, there, too. The sickness of soul and the perils that threaten life, flow from the central fact of sin, and salvation consists, negatively, in the sweeping away of all of these, whether the sin itself, or the fatal facility with which we yield to it, or the desolation and perversion which it brings into all the faculties and susceptibilities, or the perversion of relation to God, and the consequent evils, here and hereafter, which throng around the evil-doer. The sick man is healed, and the man in peril is set in safety.

But, besides that, there is a great deal more. The cure is incomplete till the full tide of health follows convalescence. When God saves, He does not only bar up the iron gate through which the hosts of evil rush out upon the defenseless soul, but He flings wide the golden gate through which the glad troops of blessings and of graces flock around the delivered spirit, and enrich it with all joys and with all beauties. So the positive side of salvation is the investiture of the saved man with throbbing health through all his veins, and the strength that comes from a divine life. It is the bestowal upon the delivered man of everything that he needs for blessedness and for duty. All good conferred, and every evil banned back into its dark den, such is the Christian conception of salvation. It is much that the negative should be accomplished, but it is little in comparison with the rich fullness of positive endowments, of happiness, and of holiness which make an integral part of the salvation of God.

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This, then, being the one side, what about the other? If this be salvation, its precise opposite is the Scriptural idea of ‘perishing.’ Utter ruin lies in the word, the entire failure to be what God meant a man to be. That is in it, and no contortions of arbitrary interpretation can knock that solemn significance out of the dreadful expression. If salvation be the cure of the sickness, perishing is the fatal end of the unchecked disease. If salvation be the deliverance from the outstretched claws of the harpy evils that crowd about the trembling soul, then perishing is the fixing of their poisoned talons into their prey, and their rending of it into fragments.

Of course that is metaphor, but no metaphor can be half so dreadful as the plain, prosaic fact that the exact opposite of the salvation, which consists in the healing from sin and the deliverance from danger, and in the endowment with all gifts good and beautiful, is the Christian idea of the alternative ‘perishing.’ Then it means the disease running its course. It means the dangers laying hold of the man in peril. It means the withdrawal, or the non-bestowal, of all which is good, whether it be good of holiness or good of happiness. It does not mean, as it seems to me, the cessation of conscious existence, any more than salvation means the bestowal of conscious existence. But he who perishes knows that he has perished, even as he knows the process while he is in the process of perishing. Therefore, we have to think of the gradual fading away from consciousness, and dying out of a life, of many things beautiful and sweet and gracious, of the gradual increase of distance from Him, union with whom is the condition of true life, of the gradual sinking into the pit of utter ruin, of the gradual increase of that awful death in life and life in death in which living consciousness makes the conscious subject aware that he is lost; lost to God, lost to himself.

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II. The progressiveness of both members of the alternative. All states of heart or mind tend to increase, by the very fact of continuance. Life is a process, and every part of a spiritual being is in living motion and continuous action in a given direction. So the law for the world, and for every man in it, in all regions of his life, quite as much as in the religious, is ‘To him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance.’

Look, then, at this thought of the process by which these two conditions become more and more confirmed, consolidated, and complete. Salvation is a progressive fact. In the New Testament we have that great idea looked at from three points of view. Sometimes it is spoken of as having been accomplished in the past in the case of every believing soul-’Ye have been saved’ is said more than once. Sometimes it is spoken of as being accomplished in the present-’Ye are saved’ is said more than once. And sometimes it is relegated to the future-’Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed,’ and the like. But there are a number of New Testament passages which coincide with this text in regarding salvation as, not the work of any one moment, but as a continuous operation running through life, not a point either in the past, present, or future, but a continued life. As, for instance, ‘The Lord added to the Church daily those that were being saved.’ By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are being sanctified. And in a passage in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, which, in some respects, is an exact parallel to that of my text, we read of the preaching of the Gospel as being a ‘savour of Christ in them that are being saved, and in them that are perishing.’

So the process of being saved is going on as long as a Christian man lives in this world; and every one who professes to be Christ’s follower ought, day by day, to be growing more and more saved, more fully filled with that Divine Spirit, more entirely the conqueror of his own lusts and passions

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and evil, more and more invested with all the gifts of holiness and of blessedness which Jesus Christ is ready to bestow upon him.

That notion of a progressive salvation at work in all true Christians has all but faded away out of the beliefs, as it has all but disappeared from the experience, of hosts of you that call yourselves Christ’s followers, and are not a bit further on than you were ten years ago; are no more healed of your corruptions (perhaps less so, for relapses are dangerous) than you were then-have not advanced any further into the depths of God than when you first got a glimpse of Him as loving, and your Father, in Jesus Christ-are contented to linger, like some weak band of invaders in a strange land, on the borders and coasts, instead of pressing inwards and making it all your own. Growing Christians-may I venture to say?-are not the majority of professing Christians.

And, on the other side, as certainly, there are progressive deterioration and approximation to disintegration and ruin. How many men there are listening to me now who were far nearer being delivered from their sins when they were lads than they have ever been since! How many in whom the sensibility to the message of salvation has disappeared, in whom the world has ossified their consciences and their hearts, in whom there is a more entire and unstruggling submission to low things and selfish things and worldly things and wicked things, than there used to be! I am sure that there are not a few among us now who were far better, and far happier, when they were poor and young, and could still thrill with generous emotion and tremble at the Word of God, than they are to-day. Why! there are some of you that could no more bring back your former loftier impulses, and compunction of spirit and throbs of desire towards Christ and His salvation, than you could bring back the birds’ nests or the snows of your youthful years. You are perishing, in the very process of going down and down into the dark.

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Now, notice, that the Apostle treats these two classes as covering the whole ground of the hearers of the Word, and as alternatives. If not in the one class we are in the other. Ah, brethren! life is no level plane, but a steep incline, on which there is no standing still, and if you try to stand still, down you go. Either up or down must be the motion. If you are not more of a Christian than you were a year ago, you are less. If you are not more saved-for there is a degree of comparison-if you are not more saved, you are less saved.

Now, do not let that go over your head as pulpit thunder, meaning nothing. It means you, and, whether you feel or think it or not, one or other of these two solemn developments is at this moment going on in you. And that is not a thought to be put lightly on one side. Further, note what a light such considerations as these, that salvation and perishing are vital processes-’going on all the time,’ as the Americans say-throw upon the future. Clearly the two processes are incomplete here. You get the direction of the line, but not its natural termination. And thus a heaven and a hell are demanded by the phenomena of growing goodness and of growing badness which we see round about us. The arc of the circle is partially swept. Are the compasses going to stop at the point where the grave comes in? By no means. Round they will go, and will complete the circle. But that is not all. The necessity for progress will persist after death; and all through the duration of immortal being, goodness, blessedness, holiness, Godlikeness, will, on the one hand, grow in brighter lustre; and on the other, alienation from God, loss of the noble elements of the nature, and all the other doleful darknesses which attend that conception of a lost man, will increase likewise. And so, two people, sitting side by side here now, may start from the same level, and by the operation of the one principle the one may rise, and rise, and rise, till he is lost in God, and so finds himself, and the other sink, and sink, and sink, into the obscurity of woe and evil that lies beneath every human life as a possibility.

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III The determining attitude to the Cross which settles the class to which we belong Paul, is explaining his reason for not preaching the Gospel with what he calls ‘the words of man’s wisdom,’ and he says, in effect, ‘It would be of no use if I did, because what settles whether the Cross shall look “foolishness” to a man or not is the man’s whole moral condition, and what settles whether a man shall find it to be “the power of God” or not is whether he has passed into the region of those that are being saved.’ So there are two thoughts suggested which sound as if they were illogically combined, but which yet are both true. It is true that men perish, or are saved, because the Cross is to them respectively ‘foolishness’ or ‘the power of God’; and the other thing is also true, that the Cross is to them ‘foolishness,’ or ‘the power of God’ because, respectively, they are perishing or being saved. That is not putting the cart before the horse, but both aspects of the truth are true. The difference may be very imperceptible, but it will be real. One more, almost invisible, film, over the eyeball; one more thin layer of wax in the ear; one more fold of insensibility round heart and conscience-or else some yielding to the love; some finger put out to take the salvation; some lightening of the pressure of the sickness; some removal of the peril and the danger. The same sun hurts diseased eyes, and gladdens sound ones. The same fire melts wax and hardens clay. ‘This Child is set for the rise and fall of many in Israel.’ ‘To the one He is the savour of life unto life; to the other He is the savour of death unto death.’ Which is He, for He is one of them, to you? Barnes Notes on the Bibles asserted for the preaching of the cross - Greek, "the word (ὁ λόγος ho logos) of the cross;" that is, the doctrine of the cross; or the doctrine which proclaims salvation only through the atonement which the Lord Jesus Christ made on the cross, This cannot mean that the statement that Christ died "as a martyr" on a cross, appears to be foolishness to people; because, if that was all, there would be nothing that would appear contemptible, or that would excite their opposition more than in the death of any other martyr. The statement that Polycarp, and Ignatius, and Paul, and Cranmer died as martyrs, does not appear to people to be foolishness, for it is a 38

statement of an historical truth, and their death excites the high admiration of all people. And if, in the death of Jesus on the cross, there had been nothing more than a mere martyr's death, it would have been equally the object of admiration to all people. But; the "preaching of the cross" must denote more than that; and must mean: (1) That Christ died as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of people, and that; it was this which gave its speciality to his sufferings on the cross. (2) That people can be reconciled to God, pardoned, and saved only by the merits and influence of this atoning sacrifice. To them that perish - τοις μεν απολλυμενοις tois men apollumenois. To those who are about to perish, or to those who have a character fitting them for destruction; that is, to the wicked. The expression stands in contrast with those who are "saved," that is, those who have seen the beauty of the cross of Christ, and who have fled to it for salvation. Foolishness - Folly. That is, it appears to them to be contemptible and foolish, or unworthy of belief. To the great mass of the Jews, and to the pagan philosophers, and indeed, to the majority of the people of this world, it has ever appeared foolishness, for the following reasons: 1. The humble origin of the Lord Jesus. They despise him that lived in Nazareth; that was poor; that had no home, and few friends, and no wealth, and little honor among his own countrymen. 2. They despise him who was put to death, as an impostor, at the instigation of his own countrymen, in an ignominious manner on the cross - the usual punishment of slaves. 3. They see not why there should be any particular efficacy in his death. They deem it incredible that he who could not save himself should be able to save them; and that glory should come from the ignominy of the cross. 4. They are blind to the true beauty of his personal character; to the true dignity of his nature; to his power over the sick, the lame, the dying, and the dead; they see not the bearing of the work of atonement on the law and government of God; they believe not in his resurrection, and his present 39

state of exalted glory. The world looks only at the fact, that the despised man of Nazareth was put to death on a cross, and smiles at the idea that such a death could have any important influence on the salvation of man - It is worthy of remark, also, that to the ancient philosophers this doctrine would appear still more contemptible than it does to the people of these times. Everything that came from Judea, they looked upon with contempt and scorn; and they would spurn above all things else the doctrine that they were to expect salvation only by the crucifixion of a Jew. Besides, the account of the crucifixion has now lost to us no small part of its reputation of ignominy. Even around the cross there is conceived to be no small amount of honor and glory. There is now a sacredness about it from religious associations; and a reverence which people in Christian lands can scarcely help feeling when they think of it. But to the ancients it was connected with every idea of ignominy. It was the punishment of slaves, impostors, and vagabonds; and had even a greater degree of disgrace attached to it than the gallows has with us. With them, therefore, the death on the cross was associated with the idea of all that is shameful and dishonorable; and to speak of salvation only by the sufferings and death of a crucified man, was suited to excite in their bosoms only unmingled scorn.

But unto us which are saved - This stands opposed to "them that perish." It refers, doubtless, to Christians, as being saved from the power and condemnation of sin; and as having a prospect of eternal salvation in the world to come. It is the power of God - See the note at Romans 1:16. This may either mean that the gospel is called "the power of God," because it is the medium through which God exerts his power in the salvation of sinners; or, the gospel is adapted to the condition of man, and is efficacious in renewing him and sanctifying him. It is not an inert, inactive letter, but is so suited to the understanding, the heart, the hopes, the fears of people, and all their great constitutional principles of action, that it actually overcomes their sin, and diffuses peace through the soul. This efficacy is not unfrequently attributed 40

to the gospel. John 17:17; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:22-23. When the gospel, however, or the preaching of the cross, is spoken of as effectual or powerful, it must be understood of all the agencies which are connected with it; and does not refer to simple, abstract propositions, but to the truth as it comes attended with the influences which God sends down to accompany it. It includes, therefore, the promised agency of the Holy Spirit, without which it would not be effectual. But the agency of the Spirit is designed to give efficacy to that which is "really adapted" to produce the effects, and not to act in an arbitrary manner. All the effects of the gospel on the soul - in regeneration, repentance, faith, sanctification - in hope, love, joy, peace, patience, temperance, purity, and devotedness to God, are only such "as the gospel is suited to produce." It has a set of truths and promises just adapted to each of these effects; just suited to the soul by him who knows it; and adapted to produce just these results. The Holy Spirit secures their influence on the mind: and is the grand living agent of accomplishing just what the truth of God is "suited originally" to produce. Thus, the preaching of the cross is "the power of God;" and every minister may present it with the assurance that he is presenting, not "a cunningly devised fable," but a system "really suited" to save people; and yet, that its reception by the human mind depends on the promised presence of the Holy Spirit.

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CHAPTER SIX WE ARE PRESERVED BLAMELESS UNTO THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:23 Justification is a completed work of God, and it is instantaneous, as opposed to sanctification, which is an ongoing process of growth by which we become more Christ like (the act of “being saved,” cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Sanctification occurs after justification. F.B Meyer writes the following noted that our God has set Himself the work of our sanctification. As the Greek indicates, He looks upon us as His inheritance, and He will not rest until He has brought every acre of territory under cultivation. It is not enough that briars and thistles should be exterminated; they must be replaced by the rare growth of Christian virtue, which is Christ. The work of sanctification is quiet and silent.--It is wrought by the God of Peace. The mightiest forces of nature are stilled; and when God comes with power into the human spirit there is often no hurricane, tempest, fire, or earthquake, but the thrilling whisper of the still, small voice. Do not be afraid, as though God would treat you roughly. So long as peaceful, gentle methods will effect His purpose, He will gladly employ them. The work is also gradual. We are not made faultless, but preserved blameless; i. e., we are kept from known sin, preserved from incurring perpetual self-reproach. "There is no condemnation." I saw the other day the love-letter of a little boy to his father. It was anything but faultless; but the father, at least, did not count it worthy of blame, since he carried it next his heart. So we are not to be faultless, as judged by God's perfect standard, till we are presented before the presence of His glory; but we may be blameless up to our acquaintance with the Divine will. The work is from within outward.--Notice the order--spirit, soul, body. The Shechinah of His presence shines in the holy of holies, and thence pours over into the holy place, and so into the outer court, until the very curtains of the body are irradiated with its light. He will do it. 42

There is a tone of confidence in these words which bespeaks the unwavering faith of the Apostle in the faithfulness and power of God to do for these early Christian folk what indeed is needed by all of us; first, to be sanctified wholly, and secondly, to be preserved without blame until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can hardly realize how much this meant for men and women reared amid the excesses and evils of those days, when religion was another name for unbridled indulgence. Blamelessness of life, the stainless habit of the soul, sell-restraint--these were the attributes of the few whose natures seemed cast in a special mould. And yet how strong the assertion of the Apostle that, in the face of the insurmountable difficulties, the God of Peace would do even as much for them.

We must distinguish between blamelessness and faultlessness. The latter can only be ours when we have passed into the presence of His glory, and are presented faultless before Him with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24). The former, however, is within the reach of each of us, because God has said that He will do it. The Agent of the blameless life is God Himself. None beside could accomplish so marvellous a result, and He does it by condescending to indwell the soul. As His glory filled Solomon's Temple, so He waits to infill the spirit, soul, and body of those who trust Him. He will do it as the God of Peace. The mightiest forces are the stillest. Who ever heard the day break, or detected the footfall of Spring? Who thinks of listening for the throb of gravitation, or the thud of the forces that redden the grape, golden the corn, and cover the peaches with bloom? So God works in the hearts of those who belong to Him. When we think we are making no progress, He is most at work.

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CHAPTER SEVEN CONCLUSION Understanding the doctrine of justification is important for a Christian. First, it is the very knowledge of justification and of grace that motivates good works and spiritual growth; thus, justification leads to sanctification. Also, the fact that justification is a finished work of God thus Christians have assurance of their salvation. In God’s eyes, believers have the righteousness necessary to gain eternal life. Brethren, it is no part of my business to enlarge upon such awful thoughts, but the brighter the light of salvation, the darker the eclipse of ruin which rings it round. This, then, is the first contrast. The common acceptance of the word “to justify,” in the Bible, is, to acquit from all charge, to declare the person to stand right in the eye of the law. It is the very opposite of “condemnation.” And in this sense is the word commonly used among us. To “justify” is not, therefore, to infuse a principle of justice into the soul. It does not produce an inherent change of moral character. The import of this word is entirely distinct from that of “sanctification;” and this distinction must be carefully kept in view, if we would avoid error and confusion in the investigation of the subject. The Scripture doctrine of justification may be briefly summed up in the following particulars. It is God who justifies. Justification is wholly gratuitous, without merit and without any works of our own, as its ground. The merit of Christ, as Mediator, expressed in Scripture by his righteousness, his obedience, his blood, his death, his life, his sacrifice—is the true and only meritorious ground of a sinner’s pardon and acceptance. The justification of the ungodly includes the remission of sins, by which often it is expressed in Scripture; but it also includes their acceptance as righteous, for the sake of Christ’s perfect righteousness reckoned to their account. Justification is by faith, as the instrument of union to Christ, and the reception of his righteousness. 44

The faith which justifies is always a living, operative, fruitful faith. No one is justified by a faith which is alone, or unattended with good works. Justification and sanctification, though inseparably connected, and equally necessary to salvation, are nevertheless distinct blessings of the new covenant; and the latter is the only certain evidence of the possession of the former. Justification takes place at the moment of believing, and is as perfect at once as it can ever be, and there can be no place for a second justification in the sight of God, and in relation to his law; but there is a manifestation of the genuineness of our faith and sincerity of our profession, both in this world and at the day of judgment, which is also sometimes called justification. No plan of justification which does not make a complete provision for the satisfaction of all the demands of law and justice, is honorable to God or agreeable to Scripture. By this single test may all erroneous theories of justification be tried and condemned. The importance of the doctrine of a sinner’s justification before God, is not exceeded by that of any other in the whole circle of divine truth. Without justification it is evident that no man can be saved. It is then a vital subject. Eternal life is involved in it. For let it be considered, that there is here no middle ground. He who is not in a state of justification must be in a state of condemnation; and if he continues in that state, he must perish forever.

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CHAPTER EIGHT: BIBLIOGRAPHY Barnes Notes on the Bibles F. B. Meyer: A Biography, Ontario Christian Books, 1992. Kurt Aland, A History of Christianity, vol. 2, trans. James Schaaf (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986) p. 13-14. Wayne Grudem, Making Sense of Salvation: One of Seven Parts from Grudem's Systematic Theology.

Retrieved at http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=18287 J. H. Thayer, Greek Lexicon, p. 666). Grace is God’s part in our salvation. Faith is our response to God’s grace. Odin, Karl-Alfred (28 March 1985), "Entdecker und Wissens chaft organisator von hohen Gnaden", Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Jordan Lavender (2013). A Most Wholesome Doctrine: Justification by Faith Alone.

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