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    Saved by faith alone web Saved by faith alone web Document Transcript

    • SAVED BYFAITH ALONE Understandingthe doctrine of justification by faith and how to teach it to children SAM DOHERTY
    • A series of devotional manuals for children’s workers “The Problems of a Children’s Worker - and God’s Solution” “Obedience to the Heavenly Vision” “Smooth Sailing in Personal Relationships and Leadership” “50 Years and Still Learning” “Salvation by Faith Alone” “Truths for Teachers” “God’s Word for God’s Workers Vol 1” “God’s Word for God’s Workers Vol 2” Electronic Edition Published October 2011 All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Published by Child Evangelism Fellowship ® Inc. Specialized Book Ministry Assisting Children’s Evangelists Worldwide P O Box 308, Lisburn, Co. Antrim BT28 2YS, Northern Ireland, UK © October 2001
    • Table of ContentsForeword ................................................................................................................ vGeneral Introduction................................................................................viiSection 1: Justification of Faith ......................................................................... 1 The Hinge of Child Evangelism Chapter 1 Guilty before God ................................................................ 8 The Need For Justification Chapter 2 Good Works Cannot Save .................................................. 1 3 Human Errors About Justification Chapter 3 Possible or Impossible? ....................................................... 1 7 Two Questions About Justification Chapter 4 Forgiven and Righteous ..................................................... 2 0 The Meaning Of Justification Chapter 5 Just and the Justifier ........................................................... 3 2 The Righteousness Of God Chapter 6 Salvation is of the Lord ...................................................... 4 0 The Source Of Justification Chapter 7 Saved by Grace Alone ........................................................ 4 5 The Reason For Justification Chapter 8 Wounded for Me ................................................................. 5 1 The Price Of Justification Chapter 9 Christ is Risen Indeed! ....................................................... 5 6 The Proof Of Justification Chapter 10 Forsaking All I Trust Him .................................................... 6 0 The Condition Of Justification Chapter 11 Faith the Root, Works the Fruit ......................................... 6 6 The Evidence Of Justification Chapter 12 Showers of Blessing ............................................................ 7 3 The Results Of Justification Chapter 13 Safe and Secure .................................................................. 79 The Permanence Of Justification
    • Chapter 14 Don’t Forget the Children ................................................. 8 6 TheTeaching Of Justification By Faith To ChildrenSection 2: Reaching Children with a Liberal Protestant Background 109 Chapter 1 Begin with the Background ............................................. 1 1 6 What Is Liberal Protestantism? Chapter 2 Decisions are Needed ..................................................... 124 How Should We React To Liberal Protestantism? Chapter 3 Consider the Children ...................................................... 1 2 9 How Does Liberal Protestantism Affect The Children? Chapter 4 Consider the Scriptures .................................................... 1 3 3 What Does The Bible Teach About Children? Chapter 5 Consider your Ministry .................................................. 143 How Can We Help These Children? Chapter 6 Consider your Message .................................................. 148 What Should We Teach These Children? Chapter 7 Salvation by Faith Alone ............................................... 150 What Must They Do To Be Saved? Chapter 8 Repent and be Baptised .................................................. 156 Are They Saved Through Baptism? Chapter 9 The Family of God .......................................................... 165 Is God The Father Of Every One? Chapter 10 The Legacy of Christian Parents ................................... 169 If Their Parents Are Believers, Are They Automatically Believers? Chapter 11 The Truth of God ............................................................. 174 Is The Bible Really The Inspired Word Of God? Chapter 12 The Person of Christ ....................................................... 179 Was Jesus Christ Truly And Completely God? Chapter 13 The Origin of Man .......................................................... 183 Are We The Product Or Result Of Evolution? Chapter 14 The Next Step ................................................................... 194 What Is Our Response?
    • Saved by Faith Alone v FOREWORD We live in an age that rightly encourages the youngest child to have aninquiring mind and to ask questions about everything and anything.Sometimes, however, it is forgotten that one of the tasks of parents andteachers, in seeking to fulfil their God-given function, is to encourage theasking of the right questions. Of all the questions that can be asked today, concerning life in thisworld and the problems we encounter, there is no more important,fundamental question which any boy or girl can ever ask than this – “Howcan a sinful human being, like me, find acceptance and favour with a holyGod?” This is incomparably the greatest and the most important matterthan can ever face any of us, while we are in this world. And the heart ofthe Gospel of Christ, is God’s answer to that vital question.Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness Bold shall I stand in that great day,My beauty are, my glorious dress: For who aught to my charge shall lay?’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, While through Thy blood absolved I amWith joy shall I lift up my head. From sin and fear, from guilt and shame. In the natural course of life in this world, our children are going topass through many trials, temptations, pressures and hardships. They aregoing to experience guilt, failure, disappointment and loss, along with manyjoys and pleasures. To anyone who wants to see children enjoying a rich,vital relationship to God, and persevering to the end, through all the stressesand disappointments that life will throw at them, I would say two things.First, grasp and understand this glorious doctrine of justification by faithalone, yourself; for when you really do grasp it, the exquisite joy, comfort,confidence and assurance it gives you, will compel you, secondly, to useevery means at your disposal to explain it to, and share it with, othersaround you. This book has been written to help you to do those two things. It was Thomas Watson who observed, “An error about justification isdangerous, like a defect in a foundation. Justification by Christ is a springof the water of life. To have the poison of corrupt doctrine cast into thisspring is damnable.” If we give ourselves to understanding and applyingthis doctrine, then the teaching of our children will have the quality of
    • vi Forewordeternity in it—it will be gold, silver and precious stones, not wood, hay andstraw. The author’s desire in writing this book is to see many children goingthrough life, ‘strong in the Lord and in the power of His might’, enjoyingthe blessed assurance that, ‘Jesus has lived and died for me’. May theLord our God, by the mighty working of His Holy Spirit, be pleased to useit to that end and purpose. Rev. John Keefe Minister of Sloan Street Presbyterian Church Lisburn, Northern Ireland
    • Saved by Faith Alone vii GENERAL INTRODUCTION This book is the latest in my series to help children’s workers worldwidein their lives and in their ministries. The other books which have beenpublished are listed at the beginning of this book; and if you have not receivedany of them, please let us know which of them would be a help to you andwhy, and we will send you whatever you don’t have. This book has two sections which are, as you will see, closely related. • The first section has as its theme “Justification By Faith”. This could well be the most important doctrine of the Christian faith. It is certainly the key doctrine as far as the Gospel message is concerned. It is therefore essential that everyone who evangelizes children should understand this doctrine and its many aspects, and also be able to teach it to the children. I trust that this first section of the book will accomplish both of these purposes. • There are many children who are growing up in, and are influenced by, Protestant churches which are called liberal or modernist. These are Protestant churches which have moved away from the historic doctrines of the Christian faith; and many children are influenced by their teaching in churches, Sunday Schools and religious instruction classes in schools. We need to know how to evangelize these children; and we also need to understand their background and what they have been taught. One of the main problems in these churches – indeed it could well be the main one – is that they no longer believe in, and teach, the biblical doctrine of justification through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. It is therefore appropriate that these two sections should be published together as one book. I trust that both sections of this book will be a help to you in yourpersonal life, and in your ministry to the boys and girls, especially to thosewho do not understand the doctrine of justification by faith. I would like to express my appreciation to Rev. John Keefe for writingthe foreword to this book. I had the privilege of being one of John’s schoolteachers when he was in his teens, and appreciated his Christian witnessin the school where I taught. He was also a help to me in my ministry tothe other pupils. I was greatly encouraged to learn that God had called him
    • viii Introductioninto full-time Christian ministry, and it has been a joy to see how God hasblessed him and used him in that ministry down through the years.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 1 Section 1: Justification by Faith“The Hinge of Child Evangelism”
    • 2 Section 1 — Chapter 1
    • Saved by Faith Alone 3 Table of ContentsSection 1: Justification by Faith ............................................................ 1 The Hinge Of Child EvangelismIntroduction .............................................................................................. 6Chapter 1 Guilty before God ............................................................. 8 The Need For JustificationRomans Chapter 1 v1–17 ................................................................................... 8Romans Chapter 1 v18—3 v20 ......................................................................... 9Chapter 2 Good Works Cannot Save ..........................................13 Human Errors About JustificationPaul’s Teaching in Romans..................................................................13Paul’s Teaching in Galatians...............................................................14Summary..........................................................................................14Chapter 3 Possible or Impossible................................................17 Two Questions About JustificationHow Can a Sinner Be Justified Before God?.........................................17How Can a Holy God Justify Sinners?..................................................17Chapter 4 Forgiven and Righteous..............................................20 The Meaning Of JustificationA Definition of Justification................................................................20Justification Results, First of All, in Forgiveness.....................................21Justification Results, Secondly, in Righteousness....................................24Justification is Instantaneous................................................................28Chapter 5 Just and the Justifier...................................................32 The Righteousness Of GodThe Righteousness Of God...................................................................32The Righteousness of Jesus Christ........................................................33Paul’s Teaching about the Righteousness of Christ.................................34The Meaning of Imputation................................................................36Only Two Kinds of Righteousness........................................................38Chapter 6 Salvation is of the Lord..............................................40 The Source Of Justification
    • 4 Section 1 — Chapter 1Justification Does Not Come from Man...............................................40Justification Comes Only from God.....................................................43Chapter 7 Saved by Grace Alone................................................45 The Reason For JustificationJustification is by Grace Alone...........................................................45Answers to Difficult Questions............................................................48Chapter 8 Wounded for Me ......................................................51 The Price Of JustificationA Look at Romans.............................................................................51A Look at 2 Corinthians.....................................................................52A Look at Galatians..........................................................................53Summary..........................................................................................54Chapter 9 Christ is Risen Indeed! ..............................................56 The Proof Of JustificationThe Resurrection Proves Our Justification...............................................56The Final Sign for Sceptics.................................................................58Chapter 10 Forsaking All I Trust Him............................................60 The Condition Of JustificationThe Sinner is Justified by Faith............................................................60The Meaning of Faith.........................................................................60A Faith which Fails and Falls Short .....................................................61Justification by Faith was the Key Doctrine of the Reformation .............62Justification by Faith is a Key Biblical Doctrine....................................62Chapter 11 Faith, the Root, Works the Fruit.................................66 The Evidence Of JustificationJustification and Regeneration Occur Together......................................66Justification is Followed by Sanctification............................................67A Grave Mistake...............................................................................68The Need for Self-examination...........................................................68Two Kinds of Righteousness................................................................69Justification and Works .....................................................................69Carnality and the Christian ................................................................70Teach the Children............................................................................71Chapter 12 Showers of Belssing ...................................................73 The Results Of JustificationNo Condemnation.............................................................................73Peace with God................................................................................74
    • Saved by Faith Alone 5Access to God..................................................................................75Eternal Life and Sure Glorification......................................................75Salvation from God’s Wrath................................................................76Joy...................................................................................................76God’s Sons and Heirs..........................................................................77Dedicated Service............................................................................77Chapter 13 Safe and Secure..........................................................79 The Permanence Of JustificationIs Everyone Who Claims to Be Justified Truly Justified?...........................79Can a Person Who Has Truly Been Justified Lose His Salvation? If So, How?.............................................................81Can a Justified Person Backslide and Go Back Into the World?...............83If a Believer Backslides What Happens to Him?..................................84Chapter 14 Don’t Forget the Children..........................................86 The Teaching Of Justification By Faith To ChildrenUnderstand and Explain What the Word Means...................................86Teach Justification through Bible Lessons.............................................87Teach Justification through a Flashcard Lesson.....................................89Teach Justification through the Explanation, Repetition and Learning of Bible Verses ..........................................................90Teach Justification through the Use of Illustrations................................92Teach Justification through the Use of the Wordless Book ..............................................................................98Teach Justification through a Simple Visual..........................................99Teach Justification through Stories from Church History.........................99Dawn Breaks over Europe..................................................................100Books for Further Reading on this Subject....................................108
    • 6 Section 1 — Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION John Calvin wrote: “Justification (by faith) is the main hinge on which religion turns.” I believe that it is the hinge on which our evangelism of childrenturns. Martin Luther said: “Justification (by faith) is the article (or sign) of a standing or a falling church.” I believe that the effectiveness of our ministry to children dependsupon our own understanding of the doctrine of justification by faith -and how we teach and apply this doctrine to the children. Martin Luther also said: “Justification is the chief article from which all other doctrines have flowed; the master and prince, lord, ruler and judge over all kinds of doctrine. If the article of justification is lost all Christian doctrine is lost at the same time. It alone begets, builds, preserves and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour.” We as children’s workers should never neglect to teach this greatdoctrine to the children to whom we minister. If we neglect to do so wewill cause confusion and even harm to our children. The doctrine of justification by faith is one of the key doctrines ofthe Bible. In the New Testament the word “propitiation” is mentioned4 times; “redemption” 11 times; “reconciliation” 5 times but“justification” (and related words) 230 times. It is therefore necessary for us as children’s workers to have athorough biblical understanding of this doctrine, and its practicalconsequences, to apply this doctrine consistently to ourselves, andto give it a vital, and even a central, place in our ministry to children. We will study this doctrine under a series of headings with a chapterdevoted to each. One of these will be “The meaning of justification”.However we should, in preparation, and by means of introduction, makeseveral short, simple but necessary statements about justification byfaith.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 7 The word “justification” is a word taken from the law court. It is a legal term which declares a person to be righteous and not guilty, and which acquits him completely from the sentence or punishment which he deserves. The word “justification” is the opposite to the word“condemnation.” “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8 v33, 34). The person who is justified will not, and cannot, be condemned. Justification is a statement, a declaration, a proclamation that a sinner, who is not righteous, is righteous in the sight of God. It declares him righteous, but does not of itself make him righteous. Justification is objective, not subjective. It occurs outside the person justified—and not within him. It changes his position but not his character. We will come back to each of these statements from time to timethroughout this section of the book and explain them more thoroughly. My prayer is that each of us, as children’s workers, will enter intoa new understanding of this great biblical doctrine; and that we will, atthe same time, make a new resolve and determination to teach iteffectively to our children. “For in it (the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1 v17).
    • 8 Section 1 — Chapter 1 Chapter 1: Guilty Before God The Need for JustificationPseen.” aul’s letter to the Romans is undoubtedly his masterpiece. Someone has described it as “the greatest display of logic the world has ever It was the only letter which Paul wrote to a church which he hadnot visited or founded. As a consequence, it covers a wide range ofessential truth and doctrine, and includes, I am sure, most of what Paulwould have preached if he had been there. The book of Romans contains the most detailed outline and studyof justification to be found in the New Testament. Paul’s letter to theGalatians is also, as we shall see later, a great additional help in theunderstanding of this doctrine. A study of the first three chapters of Romans shows us clearly whyjustification is needed—and that this is a universal need. Romans Chapter 1 v1–17 This section of the letter introduces the subject of justification andbuilds up to the key truths found in verses 14–17. Six simple statementscan be seen in these verses, all of which have obvious applications toyou and me and our ministry to children: Paul’s debt – “Both to Greeks and to barbarians” (verse 14). Paul was a debtor. He was in debt to preach Jesus Christ and His Gospel to all kinds of people. He “owed” them the Gospel. Preaching this Gospel was the means by which this debt could be discharged. Paul’s desire – “I am ready to preach the Gospel to you” (verse 15). Paul’s great desire was to preach. He was ready to preach the Gospel to everybody, in every place, at every opportunity and under every circumstance.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 9 Paul’s declaration – “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ” (verse 16). The world did not like the Gospel Paul preached and opposed Paul continually. But Paul was proud of that message and appreciated the privilege of having been called to preach it and never tried to hide or dilute his message. The dynamic (or power) of the Gospel – “It is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (verse 16b). One of the main reasons Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel and desired to preach it was because it had POWER. God used the message to save all kinds of sinners and to change lives. The design (or plan) of the Gospel – “To the Jew first and also to the Greek” (verse 16c). God wants all people to hear the wonderful Gospel. God’s plan was that it should be preached first to the Jews (and it was) but then that it should be preached to everyone of every race, colour and creed. The doctrines (or principles) of the Gospel – “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from (on the basis of) faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (verse 17). The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel. The Gospel does not only reveal that God Himself is righteous, but it also reveals that He declares us righteous through belief in the Gospel. Because of the faith we have placed in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, He puts His righteousness into our account. The one who believes is just, or justified, and that is the theme of the following chapters of Romans. Romans Chapter 1 v18- 3 v20 This section of the letter outlines clearly why justification and God’srighteousness are needed by every one of us. Everyone is a sinner. Weare sinful, unclean, dead, blind and enemies of God. Therefore weneed to be justified. We need to have our sin forgiven by a holy God.The two questions posed in Job 25 v4 are very relevant. “How then can man (a sinful man) be justified with God?” “How can he be clean (in God’s sight)?”
    • 10 Section 1 — Chapter 1 Paul proceeds in these verses to deal with man’s need of justificationin a logical and systematic way. Chapter 1 v18–1 v32 — The Heathen are GuiltyIn these verses Paul shows the need of the heathen/Gentile/non-Jewish/non-religious world. These are the people who know little or nothingabout the Bible, and who make no profession of faith in Christ. Thesewould include today’s atheists, agnostics, and non-churchgoers. Thesewould include the careless, the indifferent and those to whom God isirrelevant. They are all guilty before God Such people are ungodly and unrighteous. They deserve the wrath of God (verse 18). They can see God in creation if they wish to, and are therefore without excuse (verse 19-20). They have rejected what they could see or learn (verse 21). A number of consequences follow and result from these three facts (verses 22-32): They became fools (although they thought they were wise) (v22). They made their own gods (v23). God gave them up (v24-28). – to uncleanness (v24). – to vile affections (v26). – to a reprobate mind (v28). They engage in all kinds of unrighteousness (v29-31). They know what they are doing and enjoy it (v32). What a dark picture! But it is also a true picture of the non-religious/non-Christian world today. Chapter 2 v1–3 v8 — The Jews are Guilty These verses describe the Jews, the people of God. They were thepeople who had the Word and who were religious. They are also apicture of today’s religious but unsaved churchgoers, do-gooders andmoralists. These people are proud of what they have and what theyknow; they are proud of their background and their religious heritage.But Paul exposes the unrighteousness of the unbelieving Jew andreligious person, and explains that each of them is also guilty and also
    • Saved by Faith Alone 11needs to be justified. He judges others but does the same things himself (chapter 2 verses 1-4). He himself will be judged (verses 5-10). He is no different in God’s sight from the unsaved heathen (verses 11-16). He is proud of his so-called righteousness (verses 17-20). He is a breaker of his own principles and will therefore receive greater, not less, judgment (verses 21-2). He has many privileges (chapter 3 verse 1-2). But God judges these people also - despite their religion (verses 3-8). This picture of religious people is perhaps even darker than thatcontained in the first chapter. One of the greatest tragedies in the worldtoday is to see men and women, boys and girls, who think they areright and who think they are acceptable to God on the basis of theirown “righteousness” and their religion. These are often the mostdifficult to reach with the Gospel. Chapter 3 v9–20 — Everyone is Guilty Paul brings together what he has outlined in the two previous sectionsto conclude that “all the world is guilty before God” (3 v19). All are under sin (verse 9) None are righteous—no not one (verse 10) None seek God (verse 11) None do good (verse 12) They have sinful mouths (verse 13 & 14) They are guilty of sinful actions (verses 15 & 16) They have sinful attitudes (verses 17 v18) All the world is guilty before God (verse 19) There are no exceptions (verse 12) In this way Paul has clearly outlined man’s need for justification.Boys and girls and young people are in the same position and have thesame need. The picture is dark but it is necessary for everyone to see itand understand it. The verses which follow will show how God justifiesthe sinner. These verses, and the truths they contain, will shine, like
    • 12 Section 1 — Chapter 1diamonds, all the more brightly because they are being displayed on thedark background of the first three chapters. A Question Do you, my dear reader, understand and see clearly your position before God as a sinner who needs God’s forgiveness and salvation? It does not matter how religious you are, or how hard you try to be good, and to make yourself right with God. The first step in anyone’s salvation is to see his great need of that salvation. Have you seen your need?
    • Saved by Faith Alone 13 Chapter 2: Good Works Cannot Save Human Errors about JustificationT here are many who realise, understand and are convicted about their sinfulness as outlined in the first three chapters of Romans.Some of them also have a desire to be justified. But how? Man’s main mistake is to think that he can justify himself by hisgood works, by his religious activities and ceremonies, by Bible reading,prayer and church attendance and by trying to keep God’s commands.This is an answer which is very acceptable to sinful man because itgives him the satisfaction of being able to “save himself”, and it giveshim therefore a reason for self-congratulation. But it is wrong andcompletely unbiblical. Paul’s Teaching in Romans Before Paul goes any further in his letter to the Romans he dealsbriefly but clearly with this mistake in chapter 3 verse 20 - the versewhich immediately follows his detailed outline of man’s need and guilt. Paul has concluded in the previous verse (chapter 3v19) that allthe world is guilty before God. All the world is therefore condemnedby God because of their sin; this is the language of the law court; thisis a legal problem which needs, first and foremost, a legal solution. Paul now states clearly in chapter 3 v20 that: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” The phrase “deeds of the law” means “good works”. Both phrasesdescribe attempts to keep God’s commands and to gain His favour byengaging in religious activities and observances. But Paul emphasizesthat it is a grave mistake to think that deeds of the law, the good workswhich we do, and the religious acts we perform can justify or makeright. The primary function of the law is to show the unsaved howsinful they are—and not to save them. The New Testament over and over again makes it clear thatsalvation is not possible through the keeping of the law and throughgood works.
    • 14 Section 1 — Chapter 2 Paul’s Teaching in Galatians In the book of Galatians Paul deals with the same theme and writesas follows: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law” (Galatians 2 v16). “For if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2 v21). “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse” (Galatians 3 v10). “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God” (Galatians 3 v11). “Therefore the law was our tutor (or school master) to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3 v24). The NIV translation says “the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.” Paul outlines four simple truths concerning the law in the thirdchapter of his letter to the Galatians: Those who rely on the law for salvation are under a curse (3 v10). No one is justified by the law before God (3 v11). The law does not and cannot impart righteousness or life (3 v21). The law prepares the sinner, shows him his sin and leads him to Christ (3 v24). Summary The Bible teaches over and over again that a man is not justifiedby the works of the law. What, then, does the Bible teach about the law? The law is good (Romans 7 v12, 14, 16; 1 Timothy 1 v8). But the law has no saving effect whatsoever (Romans 3 v20). The law tells you what you should do but it does not enable you to do it. The law has three main functions all of which are positive and necessary: It shows us our sin (Romans 7 v7, 8).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 15 It leads us to Christ (Galatians 3 v24). It gives guidelines for living to the Christian after he is saved (Romans 8 v4; 13 v10). BUT THE LAW CANNOT SAVE. Martin Luther said that the law was like a stick: “God first used it to beat me but later I used it to walk with.” In other words God used the law to show up his sin, faults and failings.God’s revelation of His standards showed him how far short he fell ofthem. This was a difficult time for him. But after he had trusted JesusChrist that same law gave him the standards by which he should live theChristian life. What a tragedy that so many people today all over the world—both young and old—are depending upon what they can do for theirsalvation! This is a terrible mistake which can have awful and eternalconsequences. Man is by nature sinful (Romans 3 v23), dead (Ephesians 2 v1,5),blind (2 Corinthians 4 v4), controlled by sin (Colossians 1 v13), andan enemy of God (Romans 5 v10; 8 v7) ). It is therefore impossibleand hopeless for him to save himself by trying to keep the law. OnlyGod can save! In 1937 Mr. J. Irvin Overholtzer founded the Child Evangelism Fellowship, the Mission with which I work. He was at that time already a middle aged man, and he had been a pastor for a number of years. However, the denomination to which he belonged believed and taught “salvation by works” and so did he. He and his colleagues believed that if they lived (and even dressed) in a certain way, and obeyed all the rules of the denomination they would (or might!) eventually be saved. But Mr. Overholtzer felt more and more uneasy about this teaching. So he decided to make a careful verse by verse, and word by word, study of the New Testament to see if what he believed was what the Bible taught. Over a period of time he came to see and understand the great biblical truth that
    • 16 Section 1 — Chapter 2 salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone through grace alone. His life was transformed, and for the first time he truly trusted Christ and had assurance of salvation. Soon after that God called him into a ministry to children, and he began the work of CEF which was to spread all over the world. But he never forgot the great truth that salvation is by faith and not by works; and this was always to be the heart of his message, and the heart of the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship. A Question Are you, my dear reader, depending upon your own goodness, acts of mercy, religious observance or good works of any kind to give you acceptance before God? If you are, you have not succeeded, and you cannot succeed. You need salvation and a Saviour—and the Bible will tell you how you can have both.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 17 Chapter 3: Possible or Impossible? Two Questions about JustificationA ll that we have read so far could give rise, in our minds, to two key questions. These are questions which really seem to beimpossible to answer. How Can a Sinner Be Justified Before God? This first question, or series of questions, are questions which sinfulman should be asking; even if he does not yet know the answer tothem. How can a sinner enter heaven when the Bible makes it clear that there is no sin in Heaven? How can a sinner receive and experience complete and absolute forgiveness of all his sin? How can an unrighteous person be declared righteous by a holy God—when he is not? How can an unrighteous person be seen as righteous? These questions were verbalized by Job: “But how can a man be righteous before God?” (Job 9 v2). “How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?” (Job 25 v4). How Can a Holy God Justify Sinners? This leads on to another yet closely related question. Reverentlyspeaking, God has a question, which seems from our point of view tohave no answer and to which only He knows the solution. How can God justify the ungodly, and still be just and righteous? It is, of course, true that God is a God of love, that He loves theunrighteous and that He wants to save them. The Bible makes thatvery clear (John 3 v16; 1 John 4 v8; Matthew 18 v14; 1 John 4 v10;Romans 5 v8; 2 Peter 3 v9). Why then does God not do so? Why doesGod not save everybody?
    • 18 Section 1 — Chapter 3 He cannot do this, because He is also a God of holiness,righteousness and justice. He must punish sin and He must punish thesinner. Otherwise He would not be just and righteous. It is impossiblefor God to justify the sinner unless He can provide a way to do sowhich would be in full agreement with, and not in conflict with, Hisjustice. And so we could restate this question from God’s point of view: How can God be just and, at the same time, justify the unrighteous? How can God declare a guilty person not guilty when he is guilty? How can God declare an unrighteous person to be righteous when he is not righteous? We will understand the answers to all these questions more clearlyas we study the subject of justification together in the chapters whichfollow. But just now we can see that Paul refers briefly to thesequestions, and gives a brief answer to them, in Romans 3 v25 and 26. “Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” In other words, Paul writes that Christ became a propitiation forsin. This means that He became a sacrifice for sin and that He took thepunishment for sin due to the sinner, and shed His blood for sin. It isnow possible for God to justify the sinner who believes in Jesus, withoutin any way sacrificing His justice. The death of Christ has made it possible for God’s justice and thesinner’s justification to be reconciled. Sin must be punished by a holy God, but Jesus Christ, the Son ofGod, took God’s punishment for sin on the cross so that you and Iwould not need to be punished for it. God can now legally andrighteously forgive the sinner because the full penalty for his sin hasbeen paid by another. God can now justify the sinner and be, at thesame time, just—He is therefore “just and the justifier.”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 19 But as we will see later, and as this verse points out, this is onlytrue for those who “have faith in Jesus.” A Question Aren’t you thankful that God has provided a way for your salvation—through the death of His Son on the Cross? I pray that you have not only understood this great truth, but that you have also thanked God for His love, and put your faith in Jesus Christ. Then you can honestly say, on the basis of God’s Word and promises “I am saved; I am justified.”
    • 20 Section 1 — Chapter 4 Chapter 4: Forgiven and Righteous The Meaning of JustificationI t is now necessary, before going any further, to study in more detail what is meant by the word, and the theological concept of,justification. A Definition of Justification We will start with two simple but comprehensive definitions of whatjustification is and means. These definitions are quite similar.First Definition Justification is an act of God’s free grace wherein He pardonsall our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight—only for andbecause of the righteousness of Christ which has been imputed tous and received by faith alone.Second Definition Justification is a declaration, decree or proclamation by Godthat the sinner who trusts Jesus Christ is completely forgiven andthat he is righteous and pure in His sight on the basis of Christ’srighteousness and atonement. There are six basic truths concerning justification which can bededuced from this second definition and which need to be recognized: Justification is a declaration by God. It is something God says about the sinner who trusts His Son. Justification is therefore objective. It takes place outside the sinner, not inside. Justification deals with and changes the sinner’s position, not his character or personality. Justification is based upon the righteousness of Christ, not the righteousness of the sinner. Justification is purchased by the death and precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 21 Justification takes place at one moment in time (when a sinner puts his trust and faith in Jesus Christ). It is not a process. It is a once- for-all act of God’s free grace. It is also essential to understand and remember that justification hastwo results for the sinner who trusts Jesus Christ as his Saviour: Justification results in forgiveness. God forgives all the sin of the one who trusts Jesus Christ. Justification results in righteousness. God imputes or reckons the righteousness of Jesus Christ to the one who trusts Him. He puts it “to his account.” Justification Results, First of All, in Forgiveness At the moment of justification all past sin is forgiven by God. Thisincludes all sin committed up to the moment when the sinner put histrust in Jesus Christ. But it is important to emphasize that at the momentof justification all future sin is also forgiven. The clear teaching of the Bible is that all sin is forgiven when asinner is justified. “All sin” includes past, present and future sin. This complete and eternal forgiveness is clearly taught in versessuch as the following: “Who forgives all your iniquities” (Psalm 103 v3). “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103 v12). “For You have cast all my sins behind Your back” (Isaiah 44 v22). “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins” (Isaiah 44 v22). “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31 v34). “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7 v19). “That your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3 v19). “Justified from all things” (Acts 13 v39). “Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin” (Romans 4 v8).
    • 22 Section 1 — Chapter 4 “Having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2 v13). “Your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1 John 2 v12). The consequence of this total, complete and eternal forgiveness ofthe believer is that he will never be condemned by God for his sin. Allsin is forgiven. That is justification. Therefore, and because of this,Paul emphasizes in the book of Romans that the believer is absolutelyfree of condemnation. He will never be condemned. “Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin” (Romans 4 v8). “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8 v1). “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8 v33, 34). “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5 v1). Dr. Ray Gustafson gives a good illustration of justification: “It seems that there was a man in England who put his Rolls-Royce on a boat and went across to the continent to go on a holiday. While he was driving around Europe, something happened to the motor of his car. He cabled the Rolls-Royce people back in England and asked, “I’m having trouble with my car; what do you suggest I do?” Well, the Rolls-Royce people flew a mechanic over! The mechanic repaired the car and flew back to England and left the man to continue his holiday. As you can imagine, the fellow was wondering, “How much is this going to cost me?” So when he got back to England, he wrote the people a letter and asked how much he owed them. He received a letter from the office that read: “Dear Sir: There is no record anywhere in our files that anything ever went wrong with a Rolls-Royce.” Now that’s justification. The devil accuses you, you accuse yourself, maybe your friends accuse you; but God checks the file and says, “There is no record anywhere in this file that My child ever did anything wrong.” That is justification – the gracious act of God in forgiving and declaring righteous one who believes in Jesus Christ.”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 23What a wonderful truth this is for the believers! The hymn writer,Charles Wesley, expressed it like this: “No condemnation now I dread Jesus and all in Him is mine Alive in Him, my living Head And clothed with righteousness divine”Eternal Forgiveness and Temporal Forgiveness The wonderful truth that justification results in the eternalforgiveness of sin may raise some questions and may even cause someapparent problems. Do Christians still sin? Yes, of course they do. Do they still need to ask for forgiveness? Yes, of course they do. But why should they ask for forgiveness if they are already forgiven? At the moment of justification all the believer’s sin - past, present andfuture - is forgiven from an eternal point of view by God the Judge, andwill never be remembered or brought up again to condemn him. But the child of God still sins. However, God is no longer his Judge. Heis now his Father and the Bible teaches that the child of God needs tocome to his Father, confess his sin and ask for forgiveness. The LordJesus teaches the children of God to confess their sins to their HeavenlyFather and to ask for forgiveness. “Our Father in heaven … forgive us our sins” (Luke 11 v2, 4). John teaches us: “If we (as children of God) confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1 v9). When we as Christians confess our sins to our Heavenly Father,He forgives us on a family basis and restores our fellowship. If theChristian does not do so, he will lose his joy, his peace, his fellowshipwith his Father, and his Father’s blessing. He may even be chastened by
    • 24 Section 1 — Chapter 4his Father. In other words, his fellowship with his Father is broken by hissin, but not his relationship. This relationship is eternal. In these last paragraphs we are speaking about sin from a “familypoint of view”, and the Bible teaches that it must be confessed anddealt with if we are to enjoy fellowship with God and His blessing. Weare not now speaking about sin from “an eternal point of view.” Thathas already been dealt with and forgiven. That issue is finished forever as far as the believer is concerned. God the Judge has forgiven allour sins from an eternal point of view. We are justified and havetherefore received “eternal forgiveness.” But God Who is now ourFather expects us as His children to confess to Him the sins we commitas Christians and He will grant us “family forgiveness.” A good illustration of these two types of forgiveness can be foundin John chapter 13 v1–17. In verse 6 the Lord Jesus comes to Peter andwants to wash his feet. Peter, in verse 8, refuses to let the Lord Jesusdo this. The Lord Jesus says that if He doesn’t wash Peter’s feet hewould have no part (or share) with Him. Peter then, and in typicalfashion, rushes to the other extreme and asks the Lord Jesus to washnot just his feet but also his hands and his head. The Lord Jesus answeredhim in verse 10 that this was not necessary: “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean” In other words, “You are already washed Peter, you are alreadyclean. But you need to have your feet washed.” This is an illustration of the fact that we as believers are alreadywashed, justified and clean in God’s sight. We are eternally forgiven.But, day by day, we need to have our feet washed because we havecome into contact with the world. We, as His eternally forgiven children,need constant and daily forgiveness. This forgiveness is an importantpart of the process of sanctification. But the question of eternalforgiveness has been dealt with, once and for all. Justification Results, Secondly, in Righteousness At the moment of justification God not only forgives all my sin;He also declares me to be, and says that I am, completely righteous.From that moment He sees me as pure and as righteous as Jesus Christ
    • Saved by Faith Alone 25is, and He looks at me through His perfect goodness. This aspect of justification is explained in the Bible in two differentways: God imputes, reckons or accounts the righteousness of Christ to the believing sinner. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4 v3). “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted (imputed) for righteousness” (Romans 4 v5). “The blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works” (Romans 4 v6). “Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin” (Romans 4 v8). “That righteousness might be imputed to them also” (Romans 4 v11). “It was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4 v22). “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (James 2 v23). Imputation is a legal, commercial and judicial term. It means to reckon or count, or to put into another’s account. When God imputes Christ’s righteousness to us, at the moment of justification, He sees it as now belonging to us. It is transferred into our account. It is God’s “free gift of righteousness” (Romans 5 v16 and 17) through Jesus Christ. If you had an account in a bank, and I had an account in a bank, I could transfer a certain amount of money from my account to yours. That is what imputation means. It is the transfer of Christ’s righteousness “from His account to ours.” Actually, there are three imputations or legal transfers taught in the Bible: The imputation of Adam’s sin to all humanity (Romans 5 v12–21). His sin was put into everybody’s account. The imputation of our sins to Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5 v21). Our sin was put into His account. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers (Romans
    • 26 Section 1 — Chapter 4 4 v6–25). His righteousness is put into our account. Without the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us, God’s work within us could not save us. Christians who are regenerated, and in whom the Holy Spirit lives, still sin and fall short of the glory of God. So we need a righteousness which is greater than the righteousness we ourselves may possess in order to stand pure and spotless before God’s throne. That is only possible when we receive, through imputation, a righteousness from without, from Jesus Christ. The Good News of the Gospel is that God in His grace counts or reckons or imputes the righteousness of Christ to me—and sees me as righteous as Christ is. Dr. J. Montgomery Boice, a well known pastor and writer in USA, explained this “transaction” with reference to Romans 4 v3 as follows: “The words used are book keeping terms. They refer to accounting . . . When God justified Abraham He did two things, one negative and one positive. 1. He did what Paul quotes David as saying in verses 7-8 (a quotation of Psalm 32: 1–2), namely, God did not reckon his sin against him. How so? It is not merely that God simply struck Abraham’s transgressions from the ledger book of his life and then forgot about them, as if they could simply be discounted. God does not play imaginary games. True, He did remove the list of Abraham’s sins from his ledger, but that was only because He had first transferred it to the ledger book of Jesus Christ. Jesus took the liability of those transgressions on Himself and paid their price by dying for them. Abraham’s sin was not reckoned to Abraham because it was reckoned to Jesus Christ instead. 2. In a parallel action, God then also reckoned the righteousness of Christ to Abraham, which is what Genesis 15: 6 teaches. God took Christ’s righteousness and wrote it in Abraham’s ledger.” God clothes the believer with the righteousness of Christ. In this biblical illustration and explanation Christ’s righteousness is seen as a pure, spotless, white garment. At the moment of justification God clothes the believer with this garment. God now sees only the pure garment of Christ’s righteousness.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 27 My own righteousness is, in comparison to His, as filthy rags. I must be adorned, or cloaked, by His righteousness (a cloak which covers and deals with the uncleanness of my sin) – if I am to stand in the presence of a holy God. John Bunyan said that Christ wove a perfect garment of righteousness for thirty-three years and then gave it away to those who trust Him alone to save them. This illustration can be found in several places in the Bible: “For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61 v10). In Zechariah 3 v3, 4 we read, first of all in verse 3 about the filthy garments of the high priest which needed to be removed. Then the angel of the Lord (the Lord Jesus) says in verse 4, “I will clothe you with rich robes.” And He clothed the high priest with these garments in the next verse (verse 5). In Matthew 22 v11–14 the Lord Jesus speaks about a man who was not dressed in a wedding garment and was therefore not able to come to the marriage feast. Instead he was cast into outer darkness. Paul uses the same picture in Colossians 3 v9 when he writes that the believer has “put off the old man with his deeds” and has “put on the new man.” Both of these explanations and illustrations, using the concept ofaccounts and clothes, are biblical and clear. They show us thatjustification does not change us. Justification changes our positionbefore God and how He sees us. He now sees us as pure and as righteousas Jesus Christ is! This truth is well and clearly illustrated by the white page of theWordless Book. The Wordless Book is a little book used by manychildren’s workers to explain the Gospel message to children. It hasno words but has five pages each of a different colour. Each colour helpsto explain one part of the Gospel message:
    • 28 Section 1 — Chapter 4 The gold page speaks about God and heaven. The dark page speaks about sin and its consequences. The red page speaks about the Death of Jesus Christ on the Cross for sin. The white page speaks about salvation – about justification by faith. The green page speaks about the spiritual growth which follows faith in Christ. The white page is not a picture of what I am as a Christian. I knowthat I am not as clean and as pure as this page, because I still sin. Butit is a picture of how God sees me. He sees me as pure as His Son JesusChrist is. He sees me “just as if I’d never sinned”. That’s justification.The “charge sheet” is clean; in fact God has torn it up. The white page of the Wordless Book is not a picture of me; it is apicture of the righteousness of Jesus Christ which covers and cloaksmy sin, and which is “in my account”. This righteousness is mine byfaith in Him. Christ becomes my righteousness. He does not just helpme by His grace and power to become righteous (although He alsodoes that). But He gives me His righteousness before the throne ofGod’s judgment. Jehovah God becomes my JEHOVAH – TSIDKENU(God my righteousness -Jeremiah 23 v5, 6). Justification Is Instantaneous It is important to emphasize that justification happens at onemoment of time. It is instantaneous and not a process. It is completewhen the sinner trusts Jesus Christ as His Saviour: There are, therefore, two consequences: We cannot grow in our justification. No believer is more justified than another believer. Justification is not a process which makes us more and more holyas is taught by the Roman Catholic Church and also by a number ofProtestant churches. The moment a sinner trusts Jesus Christ two things happen: He is justified and has a new position before God. He is regenerated and has a new nature.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 29 Both of these happen together at that one moment of time. But at that same moment a process does begin. It is not a processof justification. That is already complete. It is the process ofsanctification whereby the justified and regenerated sinner becomesmore and more, little by little, like Jesus Christ. Justification has been compared to a criminal being pardoned atone moment of time, whereas sanctification is like a patient being healedgradually. If a man is a criminal in prison, condemned to death and if,at the same time, he is dangerously ill, he has two problems. A pardonis not enough because he is soon going to die because of his illness. Acure for his illness is not enough because he is condemned to death.He needs to be both pardoned and cured. This is a good illustration. Pardon is a picture of justification - a legal decision happeningoutside the person and at one moment of time. Healing is a picture ofsanctification - a process which starts at the moment of regenerationand justification and continues within the person - over a period oftime, indeed the rest of his life. The truth that justification is a once-for-all, instantaneous andcomplete act of God is taught in three ways: By the Bible verses which clearly refer to it as a once-for-all experience “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This could be translated “Since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God” (Romans 5 v1). “Everyone who believes is justified from all things” (Acts 13 v39). “A man is justified by faith” (Romans 3 v28). “Having now been justified (or since we have now been justified) by His blood” (Romans 5 v9). “Whom He called, these He also justified” (Romans 8 v30). “But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6 v11). “That having been justified by His grace” (Titus 3 v7). By the illustration of justification given by the Lord Jesus in the Bible In Luke 18 v9-14 He told a story about a Pharisee and a publican.
    • 30 Section 1 — Chapter 4 The publican convicted of his sinfulness asked God to be merciful unto him. The Lord Jesus then said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other” (Luke 18v14). He was already justified. That is the teaching throughout the New Testament. Through the clear understanding of the term justification and what it means: God has made a declaration. God has forgiven all sin. God has put the righteousness of Christ into our account. God has clothed us with the righteousness of Christ. These cannot possibly be processes. All of these represent once-for-all acts by God. The traditional teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and anumber of Protestant churches, is that justification is a process during andthroughout a life-time, by which a sinner is made more and more righteousand is eventually justified. Justification, in other words, according to thiserroneous teaching, follows and is the result of sanctification. This erroneousteaching confuses and combines justification and sanctification. It teachesthat justification is granted to the righteous as a result of his sanctification,rather than granted to the sinner as the initial result of his faith in Christ. However, the Bible teaches that sanctification follows justification.Sanctification starts with and depends upon the inner change in asinner’s nature (which took place at his regeneration), and it makes himmore and more righteous. But this righteousness is, in a sense “his own”.It is imparted to him, it is far from perfect and it does, or should, grow anddevelop. But the righteousness of Jesus Christ which was imputed to himwhen he trusted Christ, is perfect and cannot grow or develop. The formula followed in this erroneous teaching is FAITH + WORKS = JUSTIFICATION. Whereas the Bible teaches FAITH = JUSTIFICATION + WORKS. Thomas Watson the English Puritan wrote “God does not justifyus because we are worthy, but justifying makes us worthy.”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 31My sin – oh the bliss of this glorious thought!My sin – not in part, but the whole,Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.Praise the Lord,Praise the Lord, O my soul! H. Spafford Several Questions Do you have a full and clear understanding of what justification is and what it means? Can you truly say, “I am justified, I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Saviour”? Do you have the resulting assurance in your heart that all your sins are forgiven, and that God sees you today as pure and as righteous as Jesus Christ is? I trust that your answer to all these questions is a resounding “Yes”!
    • 32 Section 1 — Chapter 5 Chapter 5: Just and the Justifier The Righteousness of GodT he righteousness of God, which we have already referred to several times without explanation, is so important that we need todesignate a separate chapter to it so that we can study it in more detail andbetter understand what it means. The Righteousness of God It is not easy to describe the righteousness of God because sin limitsour knowledge of Him. His righteousness is difficult for us to understandbecause it is so completely different from any attempt at humanrighteousness. But the Bible teaches that the righteousness of God is thatdivine attribute or quality which displays the fact that He is holy, right andcompletely pure – and that everything He does is holy, right and completelypure. The righteousness of God means that God always acts in accordancewith what is right, and that He Himself is the final standard of what isright. “For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32 v4). “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18 v25). “I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right” (Isaiah 45 v19). The righteousness of God can best be seen in the law of the OldTestament (which is an expression of that righteousness); and in thePerson and teachings of Jesus Christ. We see God’s power in nature;we see God’s principles in the law; but we see God’s personality andpurity in Jesus Christ. When the Bible speaks about the sinner who trusts Jesus Christ asHis Saviour receiving the righteousness of God (Romans 3 v22) orbecoming the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5 v21) it cannotmean that we become like God and that we actually receive His divineattribute of righteousness, and actually become righteous like Him. The
    • Saved by Faith Alone 33Bible teaches, instead, that His righteousness is reckoned or imputed to usas believers, and that God sees us as righteous (even though we are not).The righteousness of God which is put into our account at the moment weare justified is the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ the Son of God. The Righteousness of Jesus Christ The Bible makes it clear that the righteousness of God which is imputedto us is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. “Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God; and righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1 v30). “For they . . . have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness” (Romans 10 v3, 4). “By the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1 v1). “Through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Romans 5 v18). The Bible also teaches us a number of truths about Jesus Christand His righteousness: Jesus Christ is God and He is the image of His Father; As God He is intrinsically righteous. He is completely holy and without sin; He demonstrated that righteousness in and through His holy life and by His complete obedience to the Law of God; He showed that righteousness in His obedience to the plan and purposes of God by His atoning death on the cross. Jesus Christ demonstrates, both in His perfect life and in His atoningdeath, complete and absolute submission and perfection. He displayedHis righteousness. He showed that He, unlike us, was perfect in everyway. That is His righteousness. That is the righteousness of God whichis put into our account when we trust Him as our Saviour. From thatmoment onwards God sees us as perfect and as sinless as Christ is—because His righteousness has been imputed or transferred to us andour account. Consequently, when the New Testament speaks about the righteousnessof God (which is imputed to the believer) it refers specifically to the
    • 34 Section 1 — Chapter 5righteousness of God the Son, Jesus Christ, as displayed in and throughHis life and death here on earth. Paul’s Teaching About the Righteousness of Christ Paul in his letter to the Romans gives us three great truths aboutthis righteousness of Christ: The righteousness of Christ is revealed in and through the Gospel. “The gospel of Christ . . . for in it the righteousness of God is revealed” (Romans 1 v16, 17). “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed” (Romans 3 v21). The Gospel reveals the righteousness of Christ in two ways:- We see it demonstrated by Jesus Christ in His life and death. He lived a pure holy and righteous life, and He died as a perfect sacrifice for our sin. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5 v21). We see the possibility and reality of us receiving that righteousness—by faith in the Saviour Who is presented through the Gospel. “Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference” (Romans 3 v22). This righteousness of Christ was prophesied in the Old Testament. It is not a new doctrine. “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets” (Romans 3 v21). In Romans 4 v3, 9 and 22 we read that Abraham believed God and that the righteousness of God was imputed to him. Romans 4 v6, 7 and 8 gives us David’s description from Psalm 32 v1, 2 of the man who believes God as having the righteousness of God imputed to him. The prophet Habakkuk declared in chapter 2 v4 of his prophecy “The just (or righteous) shall live by his faith.”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 35 This righteousness of Christ becomes mine when I trust Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. This is an overwhelming truth. When I trust Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour His perfect righteousness is imputed or transferred to me and my account and, from that moment on, God sees me as righteous as Jesus Christ is. God transfers the perfect righteousness of Christ to me as a gracious gift and He views me, from now on, as if I had never sinned and as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Jesus Christ accomplished. “For in it (in the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from (on the basis of) faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1 v17). “Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (Romans 3 v22). “But to him who . . . believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4 v5). “Those who believe . . . that righteousness might be imputed to them” (Romans 4 v11). “Righteousness . . . it was imputed to him . . ., to us who believe” (Romans 4 v22-24). “Not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3 v9). This is not my own righteousness. It is the divine righteousness. Itis the righteousness of Christ. It is an imputed, positional righteousnesswhich God sees as now mine when I trust Christ. JEHOVAH–TSIDKENU—God is my righteousness (Jeremiah 23 v5, 6). This righteousness is external; it is outside of me. It is not myrighteousness. It is Christ’s righteousness. But God transfers it to myaccount and my unrighteousness is covered, in His sight, by Christ’srighteousness.
    • 36 Section 1 — Chapter 5 “When free grace awoke me, by light from on high Then legal fears shook me; I trembled to die. No refuge, no safety in self could I see, Jehovah–Tsidkenu, my Saviour must be. My terrors all vanished before the sweet name My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came To drink at the fountain, life giving and free Jehovah-Tsidkenu is all things to me.” R M MCCheyne At the same time, as we will see later, the justified sinner isregenerated, and God begins to make him righteous through theprocess of sanctification. This is an infused righteousness—his ownrighteousness—which grows throughout his Christian life as hebecomes more and more like Jesus Christ. But justification or positionalrighteousness cannot grow. (It is interesting to know that the words “righteousness” and“justification” are basically, in Greek, the same word. The translatorsmade each decision concerning its rendering in English on the basis ofthe context.) The Meaning of Imputation Before closing this chapter we need to have another more detailedlook at the biblical concept of imputation. It is through this imputationthat the righteousness of Christ becomes mine in God’s sight. Imputation is a commercial or legal term which means thatsomething which belongs to one person is legally transferred to, or putinto the account of, another person. It means to reckon or account toone individual that which rightfully belongs to another. We have already seen that the Bible records three imputations orreckonings: In Romans 5 v12-21 Paul writes that the original sin of Adam is imputed or transferred to his entire posterity. Adam, as head of the human race, was our representative. So his fall and his sin were imputed to all of us, or transferred to our account. We are all counted guilty because of Adam’s sin. In 2 Corinthians 5 v21a we see how our sin was imputed to Jesus Christ.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 37 “For He (God the Father) made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5 v21a). God the Father thought of, or counted, our sin with its guilt and punishment as belonging to Jesus Christ. He “transferred our sin to His account.” So He then paid the penalty for all this sin. We see this same truth also in Isaiah 53 v6, Isaiah 53 v12; John 1 v29; Galatians 3 v13 and 1 Peter 2 v24. The third imputation is God’s imputation or transfer of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to the believer in Jesus Christ. God placed the righteousness of Christ and His perfect life of obedience into our account when we trusted Christ; He counts Christ’s righteousness as now belonging to us and sees us as pure and as righteous as Jesus Christ is. “God imputes to a sinner the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is, He accounts that sinner righteous though he is still inwardly unrighteous” C. L. Berkhof. “And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3 v9). “That we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5 v21b). In Romans chapter 4, the Greek word which is translated “impute,” “count” or “reckon” is used eleven times. Righteousness was imputed to Abraham (v3, 9, 10, 22, 23), to David and the man he describes (v6) and then to us (v4, 5, 8, 11, 24). The righteousness of Jesus Christ is an attribute which He as Godpossesses and it was demonstrated in the perfect life He lived as a manhere on the earth. But it is more than that. The righteousness of Christis also a righteous standing which God grants, counts and transfers tothose unrighteous ones who trust His Son. This imputed righteousness,and it alone, makes us fit for the divine presence. Without it we could notbe saved, because we, of ourselves, could never be righteous enough to be
    • 38 Section 1 — Chapter 5in God’s presence. Martin Luther said: “This is that mystery which is rich in divine grace to sinners wherein by a wonderful exchange our sins are no longer ours but Christ’s; and the righteousness of Christ is not (just) Christ’s but ours. He (has) emptied Himself of His righteousness that He might clothe us with it and fill us with it.” Only Two Kinds of Righteousness As believers we have therefore two kinds of righteousness—oneof which is considerably higher and purer than the other. We have already seen that at the moment a sinner trusts Jesus Christ as his Saviour he is justified. He receives a righteousness which is not his own and is outside of him. It is the righteousness of Christ which is pure and perfect. God transfers this perfect righteousness to the sinner’s account. The justified sinner is clothed with this righteousness which covers all his sins; and when God looks at him He sees not the sin which is still there but the righteousness of Christ which covers and hides all that sin. This righteousness is received at one moment. It is complete. It cannot grow and it cannot be lost. It is a positional righteousness. It does not change the sinner. It changes his position before God. Consequently, when the sinner trusts Christ he is justified and has a new position before God, and a new and perfect righteousness, which is not his but which God sees as his. But at the same moment as God justifies the sinner He also regenerates him. Justification changes his position. Regeneration changes his person. Justification deals with the penalty for his sin. Regeneration starts to deal with the pollution of his sin. Justification is external and objective. Regeneration is internal and subjective. Both happen at the same time – and it is not possible to have one without the other. Regeneration is a new birth and the beginning of a new life. Atthat moment the process of sanctification begins. God the Holy Spirit worksin the believer’s heart and, little by little, He makes him more righteous.This righteousness is the believer’s own righteousness (although it is the
    • Saved by Faith Alone 39result of the Holy Spirit working in him). But this is a growing righteousness,far from perfect, and much below the righteousness of Christ. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer. But thisrighteousness is infused into the believer – and unlike the righteousness ofChrist it is far from perfect and needs to grow continually. Several Questions Do you understand the great truth that the righteousness of Christ has been transferred into the account of the believer and that God sees you, as a believer, as pure and holy as Jesus Christ is? Do you also understand that God, the Holy Spirit, is working within you to make you more and more righteous and more and more like Jesus Christ? Do you see the difference between those two kinds of righteousness—and are you praising God for both of them?
    • 40 Section 1 — Chapter 6 Chapter 6: Salvation is of the Lord The Source of JustificationF rom what we have studied and learned so far we can now come to certain conclusions concerning justification and its source andanswer several key questions. What is justification based upon? Where does justification come from? Why is it possible for guilty sinners like you and me to be justified? Justification Does Not Come from Man We need, first of all, to answer these questions from a negativepoint of view. The Bible makes it very clear that a sinner cannot be justified byanything he himself can do, or by anything which any other person,institution or church can do for him, or with him. No one can justify himself by his good works and his attemptsto keep the law. We have seen this already in chapter 2. “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3 v20). “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law” (Galatians 2 v16). If you and I truly understand man’s condition, by nature, and thefact that we are sinful, dead, blind, guilty and enemies of God, we willrealise how impossible it is for the source of justification to lie withinourselves. No other human being, church or institution can justify thesinner. The Bible makes it clear that the source of justification and thenew birth does not lie in what others do for the sinner.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 41 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD” (John 1 v12 and 13). The sinner is not justified because of his parents’ faith (“not of blood”). The sinner cannot justify himself (“nor of the will of the flesh”). No one else can justify the sinner (“nor of the will of man”).No church ordinance can be the source of justification. This includes baptism, confirmation and church membership.Abraham, for example, was justified before he received the sign ofcircumcision—not because of it, or after it (Romans 4 v16). The LordJesus told the repentant thief that he would be with Him that same dayin Paradise (Luke 23 v43) despite the fact that he had not been baptised,confirmed, nor was he a regular church attender! The Roman Catholic church teaches that “The instrumental causeof the first justification is the sacrament of baptism” and that “Thejustified eternal life is both a gift of grace promised by God and areward for his own good works and merits.” This teaching, or teachingquite similar to it, can also be found in many liberal Protestant churcheswhere justification is seen as having its basic source in man and theidea has been developed that God justifies the sinner by the moralimprovement of his life. They would certainly reject the view whichwe hold, that justification takes place once for all. But their beliefs arecompletely wrong and unbiblical.Salvation is not the result of works. There are many clear, biblical and logical ways in which we canknow for sure that our salvation can not be achieved by the good workswhich we do. The plain unambiguous statements of Scriptures (both Old testament and New Testament) make this clear. “Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous” (Psalm 143 v2). “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law . . . for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2 v16).
    • 42 Section 1 — Chapter 6 “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets” (Romans 3 v20). If we can be justified by works the death of Christ was in vain. “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2 v21). If salvation came by works it would not be of grace. “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work” (Romans 11 v6). If salvation came by works it would be possible to boast. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2 v8, 9). When Paul taught on this subject he often referred to his ownexperience. He does this especially in his letter to the Philippians. Paul had been an exceedingly moral man: “Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3 v4-6). It seems that before he met Christ Paul’s thoughts about religioninvolved something like a life long balance sheet showing assets andliabilities. He had thought that being saved meant having more in thecolumn of assets than on the column of liabilities. And since he hadconsiderable assets he felt that he was very well off indeed! (There aremany “religious people” in our world today who believe and feel asPaul did at that time). Paul lists his “assets” in Philippians 3 v4-6: He was born into a Jewish family and circumcised, He was a member of God’s covenant people, He was of the tribe of Benjamin, He was a strict and faithful Pharisee, He was zealous in his defense and propagation of his faith,
    • Saved by Faith Alone 43 He felt himself to be blameless as far as the law was concerned. These were great assets from a human point of view. If anyonecould have been saved by good works it was Paul. But the day came when God revealed His own righteousness toPaul in the Person of Jesus Christ. When Paul saw Jesus Christ hebegan to understand for the first time what real righteousness was; andhe saw that his own “righteousness” was only as filthy rags – andcertainly no asset. Indeed it was a liability because it had been keepinghim from Jesus Christ where true righteousness could alone be found. Paul now learned to count his good works as nothing in order tohave Christ “and be found in Him, not having a righteousness ofmy own that comes from the law, but that which is through faithin Christ—the righteousness which comes from God and is by faith”(Philippians 3 v9). In other words, he moved his long list of cherished assets to thecolumn of liabilities (for that is what they really were) and under assetshe wrote “Jesus Christ alone”. Justification Comes Only from God The Bible teaches that the source of justification is completelyand absolutely in God—and God alone. Paul writes in Romans 3 v30: “Since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” This verse teaches two truths: It is God, and He alone, who justifies. God justifies the circumcised and the uncircumcised, the religious and the irreligious, everyone and anyone without distinction—if they truly believe. Paul again underlines the fact that it is God and God alone Who justifiesthe sinner in Romans 8 verses 30 and 33. “Moreover whom He (God the Father) predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (verse 30). “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who
    • 44 Section 1 — Chapter 6 justifies” (verse 33). When we truly understand that justification is a declaration and alegal pronouncement by God the Supreme Judge then the source ofour justification MUST, of necessity, be absolutely and completely inGod. There can be no other answer. The Bible teaches that the source ofjustification and the basis for justification lie in God Himself and inGod alone. My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. A Question Do you really and truly believe that it is God alone Who justifies, and that “salvation is of the Lord”? Then praise Him and thank Him for His grace, mercy and love which He extended to you.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 45 Chapter 7: Saved by Grace Alone The Reason for JustificationT he more intensely we study the doctrine of justification, and the more clearly we see that it is God, and God alone, who justifies,the more we begin to ask ourselves several important questions. Why does God justify sinners, rebels and enemies? Why does God justify some sinners and not others? Why did God justify me? These questions are not easy to answer. We have already seen that no one can do anything by himself to bejustified. We also need to add the fact that no one deserves to bejustified, and that includes each of us. We are by nature rebels against,and enemies of, God (Romans 5 v10; 8 v7). We deserve eternalseparation from God and punishment for our sins (John 3 v18-20, 36;Romans 3 v19). Yet He justifies us. Why does He do this? Justification Is by Grace Alone Paul answers these questions in a very simple but clear way inRomans 3 v24: “Being (or having been) justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Two words or phrases in this verse are of special interest to us:We are justified freely. The word “freely” used here means “as a gift”. In other words, ourjustification is without payment on our part and without any humanmerit. Measured by the standard of God’s requirement, human merit isimpossible. Man cannot earn the great blessing of justification. He canonly receive it as a gift from God.We are justified by His grace. Grace is God’s favour to those who do not deserve it. Grace is
    • 46 Section 1 — Chapter 7receiving that which we don’t deserve, and that which we cannot earn.Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones writes in one of his books on Romans: “Gracealways gives; whereas sin always takes away.” How true this statementis! Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see! (John Newton) This truth is taught over and over again in the Bible. One of the bestknown statements in the New Testament which emphasizes that justificationor salvation is by grace and grace alone is Ephesians 2 v8-9. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” The first three verses of Ephesians chapter 2 describe in four waysthe background of all who are now saved: We were dead . . . in trespasses and sins (verses 1 and 5). We were practising evil (verse 3a). We were enslaved to the world (verse 2a), the flesh (verse 3) and the devil (verse 2b). We were objects of God’s wrath (verse 3b). Then verse 4 starts with the word “But.” This “but” changeseverything, and emphasizes the intervention of God into the situation.If we had been left to ourselves we would have been hopeless and lostfor ever. God made us alive with Christ (verse 5)—we have life. God raised us up with Christ (verse 6)—we have freedom. God saved us (verse 8)—we have salvation. But all of this is on the basis of grace: “For by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2 v8).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 47 Oh for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer’s praise, The glories of my God and King The triumphs of His grace. (Charles Wesley) We are saved and justified by grace alone. It is true that this graceand the salvation it brings comes to us through the channel of faith.We can see this in the verses which surround Romans 3 v24 (verses22, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 30). And we also see that same truth here inEphesians 2 v8. “We are saved by grace, through faith.” But the rest of the verse shows us that even our faith is “the gift ofGod.” Paul states in these verses with regard to our faith “and that notof yourselves it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2 v9). We are saved byfaith, but this faith is the result of God’s gracious working. It is ourfaith. We are responsible to believe. God does not believe for us. Butwe believe only because God has first enabled us to believe. WithoutHim we couldn’t! It is God who takes the first step. Justification is therefore by grace from start to finish. We do notdeserve it, and we have no reason to boast or to glory in ourselves.Salvation is “Not of works lest any man should boast.” We can onlyboast in Him and what He has done. “God has chosen the foolish things of the world . . . (1 Corinthians 1v27a). God has chosen the weak things of the world . . . (1 Corinthians 1v27b). And base things of the world has God chosen . . . (1 Corinthians 1v28). . . . THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE” (1 Corinthians 1v29).
    • 48 Section 1 — Chapter 7 Great God of wonders! All Thy ways Are worthy of Thyself—divine. And the bright glories of Thy grace Among Thine other wonders shine. Who is a pardoning God like Thee Or Who has grace so rich and free? (S. Davies) Answers to Difficult Questions We are now able to attempt an answer to the three questions posedat the beginning of this chapter: Why does God justify sinners, rebels and enemies? Because of His grace and love towards them. Why does God justify some sinners—and not others? We don’t know the answer to this question. We can only quote Deuteronomy 29 v29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Looking at it from the human point of view He only justifies those who believe. If sinners don’t believe they are not justified. All sinners are responsible beings and those who don’t believe will be lost for ever, and it will be their own fault (Job 3 v16,19; John 3 v36; Acts 17 v31; 1 Timothy 2 v4). Looking at it from God’s point of view those who are saved are those whom God has chosen and to whom He has - BY GRACE—imparted the ability to believe (2 Thessalonians 2 v13; 1 Timothy 1 v14; Hebrews 12 v2; 1 Peter 1 v20, 21). I sought the Lord and afterwards I knew He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me. It was not I that found, O Saviour true. No, I was found by Thee This is difficult to understand. But the Bible teaches two truths which seem to our small and limited minds completely irreconcilable.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 49 The Bible teaches that: • Anyone who is lost is lost only because he has deliberately rejected God’s salvation and has refused to believe. All the responsibility is completely his. His condemnation is the result, purely and simply, of his own unbelief and disobedience. • Anyone who is saved is saved only because God by His grace has chosen him and enabled him to believe. All the glory belongs completely to God. His salvation is the result of God’s grace. Don’t try to reconcile these two truths. You cannot. Just believe both of them—and praise God that YOU have been saved BY HIS GRACE. Why did God justify me? I don’t know. I don’t deserve it. Others who are not justified seem better than I was. Yet He worked in my heart, drew me to Himself, and enabled me to trust Christ. I don’t know why He did it. But He did—and I give Him all the glory and praise Him for it.Long my imprisoned spirit layFast bound in sin and nature’s night.Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray.I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.My chains fell off, my heart was free.I rose, went forth and followed Thee. (Charles Wesley)
    • 50 Section 1 — Chapter 7 Some Questions What does the phrase “salvation by grace” mean? How would you define the word “grace”? What do you think of the following definitions? Grace means that we receive that which we don’t deserve. Grace is the unearned, unmerited, unrestricted blessing and loving favour of God towards sinners. The grace of God does not find men fit for salvation, but makes them so (Augustine). Grace means: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense Can you give a satisfactory answer to the question “Why did God save me?”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 51 Chapter 8: Wounded for Me The Price of JustificationI n chapter 3 we considered a problem which seemed to have no solution. How is it possible for a holy God to justify or declare righteous those who are not at all righteous, those who are sinful, rebellious and His enemies? How can God be just and, at the same time, justify a sinner (Romans 3 v26)? How is it possible for God Who, because of His justice, must punish sin, not to punish the person who has sinned? This is the great problem of the ages and one to which you and Icould never have found an answer. But God did! There was only one way by which the sinner and rebel could besaved and which would, at the same time, satisfy the claims of God’srighteousness and justice. There was only one way that the penalty ofthe sinner’s sin could be fully paid, and allow the sinner to go completelyfree. This way was not easy and it was certainly not cheap. Justificationcosts me nothing; but it cost God everything. The price of ourjustification and the only possible basis for it, was the blood of JesusChrist and His atoning, sacrificial death on the cross. A Look at Romans Paul makes it clear that justification is only possible because JesusChrist, the Son of God, has already taken God’s punishment for sin –so that we don’t have to take it. Paul writes in Romans 3 v24 and 25: “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith.” He writes again in Romans 5 v8 and 9:
    • 52 Section 1 — Chapter 8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” These verses and many similar verses show us that our justificationis only possible because Jesus Christ died and took the punishment forour sin and poured out His blood for us on the cross. THAT was theprice of our justification. What a price it was! He never sinned. But Hetook our place and our punishment so that we could be justified andnot be punished for our sin by God. A Look at 2 Corinthians “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himselfthrough Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, notimputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us theword of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ,as though God were pleading through us: we implore you onChrist’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knewno sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness ofGod in Him” (2 Corinthians 5 v18-21). These verses outline several important and relevant truthsconcerning our justification and what it cost: God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ. Reconciliation and justification are based completely upon the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (verses 18-20). Jesus Christ was perfect and without sin (verse 21a). He could not have taken our place and our punishment if He had not Himself been sinless. God made Jesus Christ to be sin for us (verse 21a). Our sin was laid on Him, imputed to Him. He was, as it were, “clothed” with our sin. Our sin was imputed (reckoned) to Jesus Christ on the cross. He then took the full punishment from God the Father for that sin on the cross so that we would not be punished for it (Isaiah 53 v4-6, 10; 1 Peter 1 v18,19). We, who believed, were made the righteousness of God in Him (v21b). As a result of His death, and on that basis alone,
    • Saved by Faith Alone 53 His righteousness is imputed to us and put into our account. We are then, and as a result, clothed with His righteousness. Our trespasses are not now imputed to us because of His death and the resulting reconciliation. They were imputed to Him. He paid the price for them. We are free, we are saved, we are reconciled to God. THIS is the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ. His deathand precious blood were the price He paid that we might bejustified. It cost us nothing, but it cost Him everything. A Look at Galatians Paul returns to this same truth in his letter to the Galatians chapter3. We are all condemned by the law. The law sets standards which no one (apart from the Lord Jesus)could reach: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (verse 10). We cannot be justified by the law or by good works. The Bible teaches us over and over again that our good deeds andworks cannot save us. “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God” (verse 11). Jesus Christ perfectly kept the law and then took thepunishment for all the sins we committed in breaking God’s law. He was made a curse so that we would not be cursed. “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’)” (verse 13). On the basis of His death and His blood we are justified whenwe put our faith in Him.
    • 54 Section 1 — Chapter 8 “The just shall live by faith” (verse 11b). At the same time, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (verse 14). Summary How then can God be just and justify the sinner? (Romans 3 v26). How can God declare the guilty to be not guilty and the unrighteousto be righteous? These are only possible because of the atoning death and sacrificeof His Son Jesus Christ on the cross. He took the punishment for oursin and made it possible for us to be justified. Consequently, God doesnot only justify sinners because He loves them. His love on its ownwould not be enough. God’s holiness and justice must also be satisfied.But God’s justice has been satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ andby His perfect life. At the cross God’s love and God’s justice meet and“kiss each other”. Both together make it possible for God to pronouncesinners legally righteous and free from condemnation because His Sonhas legally borne their condemnation. God has punished Him instead of me. Therefore I am justified, Iam free. Jesus Thy blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress. Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed With joy shall I lift up my head. Bold shall I stand in that great day For who aught to my charge shall lay? Fully absolved through these I am From sin and fear, from guilt and shame. When from the dust of death I rise To claim my mansion in the skies Ev’n then this shall be all my plea Jesus hath lived and died for me.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 55Jesus be endless praise to TheeWhose boundless mercy hath for meFor me a full atonement madeAn everlasting ransom paid.O let the dead now hear Thy voice,Now bid Thy banished ones rejoice,Their beauty this, their glorious dress,Jesus Thy blood and righteousness. (Count Zinzendorf translated by John Wesley) Two Vital Questions Do you really understand the depths to which Jesus Christ descended, and the suffering He endured so that you and I might be justified? How often do you thank Him for all He endured?
    • 56 Section 1 — Chapter 9 Chapter 9: Christ is Risen Indeed! The Proof of JustificationT he basis of justification is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ; and His precious Blood was the price that was paid for thatjustification. The Bible teaches over and over again the truth that Jesus Christdied so that sinners could be justified and forgiven. Jesus Christ taughtthis truth Himself during His years of ministry. He made it clear thatHe would die (Mark 8 v31-32; Mark 9 v31; Mark 10 v32-34), and thatHe would die for the sins of others (Mark 10 v45; Mark 14 v24; John10 v11). This truth was also preached and taught by the apostles in theActs of the Apostles and in the epistles. Some questions might come to the enquiring mind: Was the death of Jesus Christ fully acceptable to God for our sins? How do we know it was? Can we be sure that, if we trust Jesus Christ, we will be justified— as the Bible teaches? The Resurrection Proves Our Justification For three days these questions remained unanswered. But then Godthe Father raised the body of His Son from the dead. He was seen bymany during the forty days that followed and He then ascended to theright hand of His Father (Acts 1 v2, 3; Acts 2 v24-36). Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God declared andproclaimed, once and for all, to the whole universe, “I have acceptedthe atonement made by My Son.” Paul teaches this great truth in Romans 4 v25 when he writes, “Who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Jesus Christ was raised again from the dead to show that His deathfor our offences was satisfactory and sufficient; and also to prove that
    • Saved by Faith Alone 57we who believe in Him are truly justified. We have seen that the Lord Jesus Christ had taught His disciples thatHe would die and that His death would be for the sins of others. But Healso taught them that He would rise again from the dead. “For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day” (Mark 9 v31). He wanted His disciples to see and understand that these two greatevents—His death and resurrection—were closely linked together. The purpose of His death was to atone for our sins. The main purpose of His resurrection was to prove that our sins had been atoned for. The resurrection was God’s final “Amen” to the claims of His Sonand to His redeeming work. It was the final proof that God’s justicewas fully satisfied and that when we trust Christ our justification issure. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones writes: “The resurrection is the proclamation of the fact that God is fully and completely satisfied with the work that His Son did upon the Cross.” Dr. Reuben Torrey writes: “I look at the Cross of Christ and I know that atonement has been made for my sins. I look at the open sepulchre and the risen and ascended Lord and I know that the atonement has been accepted.” William Hendriksen writes: “He was raised in order to assure us that in the sight of God we are indeed without sin.”
    • 58 Section 1 — Chapter 9 The Final Sign for Sceptics The importance and the value of the resurrection of Jesus Christ wereclearly illustrated by His response when the Pharisees requested a sign toprove that the claims He had made were true: “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You” (Matthew 12 v38). The Lord Jesus made it very clear that only one sign would begiven–and that it would be the sign of the prophet Jonah: “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12 v39, 40). In other words, Jesus Christ told them that His resurrection wouldbe a sign and that it would be God’s final proof that all He had saidabout Himself was true, and that His redeeming work on the cross hadfully satisfied His Father’s will and justice. Is it any wonder that the apostles placed so much emphasis uponthe resurrection of Jesus Christ in their preaching throughout the Actsof the Apostles and in all the epistles they wrote? “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4 v33). “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ’” (Acts 17 v2, 3). “And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15 v4). “Which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1 v20).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 59They gave this repeated emphasis for two main reasons: The resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrates the redeeming value of the death of the Lord Jesus, and proves that His Heavenly Father was completely satisfied with His sacrifice (Romans 4 v25; Philippians 2 v9; Hebrews 7 v22-25). The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the final proof concerning our own justification (Romans 4 v23-25; Romans 5 v10; 1 Peter 1 v3, 4). Some Questions Have you noticed that the apostles in their preaching (and in their writing) included and stressed the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as much as the truth of His death? Why? Do you give His resurrection the same dominant place in your teaching of the children?
    • 60 Section 1 — Chapter 10 Chapter 10: Forsaking all, I Trust Him The Condition for JustificationA hat does a sinner need to do to be justified? Do we need to do something or are we automatically justifiedwithout doing anything? The Bible gives one key word in answer to these questions—andthat is the word FAITH. The sinner needs to believe, needs to trustChrist, and needs to have faith if he is going to be justified. The Sinner is Justified by Faith Salvation is through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. Faith is not the reason for salvation. Grace is. Faith is not the basis of salvation. The work of Christ is. Faith is simply the hand which accepts what has already beenaccomplished. Faith is the channel through which salvation comes tous. Faith is the condition which God demands from us if we are to besaved, provided we understand that faith on its own does not save us,and that it is not a work of merit. It is Jesus Christ who saves us. Faithis just the instrument, and the vessel which receives the divine gift. Abeggar who reaches out his hand to receive a piece of bread cannot saythat he has earned the bread which has been given to him. The Meaning of Faith Saving faith is personal trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness ofsins, for a new nature and for eternal life. This faith which saves and justifies involves the mind, the emotionsand the will. The mind. Saving faith must include some understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. It also requires some understanding of sin and the fact that we need to be saved or justified.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 61 The emotions. Saving faith must include conviction of sin and an agreement or approval in our hearts and emotions that Jesus Christ can and will save us from that sin. The will. Saving faith must include, and result in, a personal decision of the will to put our trust and confidence in Jesus Christ. The old acrostic—Forsaking All I Trust Him is theologically accurate. This personal commitment to Christ is “the crowning act of faith.” If that is not there, it is not saving faith. We need to remember that it is not great faith, perfect faith, orstrong faith which justifies. Just faith! Our faith may be weak, immatureand timid—but if it is real faith, it is justifying faith. The degree andamount of our faith will affect our sanctification and assurance—butnot our justification. It is not the strength of faith, but the perfection ofthe sacrifice which saves. A Faith Which Fails and Falls Short It is vital to understand what true justifying faith is—that it involvesthe mind, the emotions and the will. And it is necessary to recognizethat there is a kind of “faith” which is not justifying faith. This type of “faith” is often “practised” by some of those whohave grown up in a Christian family, or in a Christian church orcommunity and falls far short of a faith which saves. If this type of person is asked the question—Are you a believer?Are you a Christian? He would probably answer “Yes.” He wouldprobably say, “I do believe, I have always believed.” But this type of belief is sometimes just a “head belief”. He doesbelieve what he has heard, and he agrees with all of it. But if there islittle evidence of his emotions having being stirred and if there is noevidence of a definite commitment to, and faith in, the Lord JesusChrist, he is not saved. This person has, in this case, never actuallytrusted Jesus Christ. We all recognize, of course, that it is not necessary to be able toremember and point to the actual time when this trust was first put inChrist, when the new birth took place, and when justification actuallytook place (although many can remember that moment clearly). But it
    • 62 Section 1 — Chapter 10is essential to know that it has taken place. The consequence is that a person like this has no personalrelationship with Jesus Christ, and is consequently not saved. What a tragedy! I trust that you, my dear reader, know and are surethat you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, and arenot depending for salvation upon your parents, your church, yourcommunity—or the fact that you believe (with your head) and agreewith all you have heard and been taught. Justification by Faith Alone Was the Key Doctrine of the Reformation The reformers insisted that sinners are justified by faith alone - “solafide”. It was that word “alone” which brought opposition, persecution andabuse. Salvation, the reformers taught, is by faith alone in Christ alonethrough grace alone, and that is what we also believe. The reformers reacted against those who tried to show that a manwas justified by his works (or by his faith plus his works), by hisreligious observances, by the indulgences which he paid, or by histime in purgatory. Justification by Faith Is a Key Biblical DoctrineJustification by faith is more emphasized in Scripture than any other doctrinerelated to justification. It is a theme which runs through Paul’s letters to theRomans and to the Galatians, but it appears in many other parts of the Bible as well- both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.Romans Chapter 3 Teaches Justification by Faith In Romans chapter 3 Paul introduced the theme of justification byfaith as the central truth of his letter to the Romans. “Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (Romans 3 v22). “That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3 v26). “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3 v28).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 63Romans Chapter 4 Teaches Justification by Faith In this chapter Paul uses Abraham and David as witnesses to, andillustrations of, this great truth. Abraham had been justified by faith in what had been revealed to him about God and the future Messiah. “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15 v6). There was nothing good in Abraham, nor did he have the natural ability to believe God. His faith was God given. The three key facts explained in Romans 4 with regard to Abraham are: He believed (verses 3, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20). God imputed, or reckoned, His righteousness to Abraham’s account (verses 3, 5, 9, 10, 22, 23). The righteousness of God was counted as his (verses 3, 5, 9, 13, 22, 23). Abraham believed and God put His righteousness into Abraham’s account. Abraham became thereby the father of all believers and he is referred to as “our father” in verses 1, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18. The righteousness of God is imputed to us today if we believe. This is explained in verses 11, 16, and especially in verses 23- 25. David’s support of this truth is referred to in verses 6-8 with a quotation from Psalm 32 v2.Other Parts of Romans Teach Justification by Faith This doctrine is not confined to the third and fourth chapters ofRomans. It is alluded to in other parts of the letter. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith”(Romans 1 v17). “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5 v1). “The righteousness of faith” (Romans 9 v30 and 10 v6).
    • 64 Section 1 — Chapter 10Galatians Teaches Justification by Faith It was important for Paul when writing to the Galatians to dealwith this key doctrine so that he could counteract much of the falseteaching being propagated in Galatia. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ” (Galatians 2 v16). “God would justify the Gentiles by faith” (Galatians 3 v8). “The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3 v11). “That we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3 v24). Paul also refers again, as he did in Romans chapter 4, to theillustration of Abraham as a man justified by faith alone in chapter 3verses 6-9, and the fact that he is “our father” (chapter 3 v7).Other Verses in the Bible also Teach Justification by Faith In addition there are clear references to this great doctrine at variousplaces throughout the Bible. “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2 v4). (This statement is the earliest of the four times it is recorded in Scripture. Others are Romans 1 v17; Galatians 3 v11 and Hebrews 10 v38). “And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things” (Acts 13 v39). “The righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3 v9). “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God” (James 2 v23).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 65Nothing in my hand I bring.Simply to Thy Cross I cling.Naked come to Thee for dress.Helpless look to Thee for grace.Foul, I to the fountain fly.Wash me, Saviour, or I die. A. Toplady Some Questions How would you define saving faith? Do you feel it is enough just to believe that Jesus Christ died for you—or is it necessary to actually put your trust in Jesus Christ?
    • 66 Section 1 — Chapter 11 Chapter 11: Faith the Root, Works the Fruit The Evidence of JustificationI s it possible to see in our lives any evidence of justification? Will justification produce fruit within us? Can this fruit help us to know that we are justified? What happens when there is no evidence of any kind? We have already seen that justification does not change us.Justification does not take place within us. It changes our position beforeGod. It takes place outside of us. It is a legal declaration by God thatall our sins are forgiven, and that God has put into our account therighteousness of Christ. This righteousness is imputed - not infused. Itis reckoned to our account but it does not change us. How then canjustification produce fruit within us? Justification and Regeneration Occur Together The Bible teaches that God regenerates as well as justifies the sinnerwho trusts in Christ, and that regeneration takes place at exactly thesame time as justification, although they are two separate operations. Unlike justification, regeneration takes place within us. It changesus and gives us a new nature. Justification changes our position.Regeneration changes us—and makes us new people. Throughregeneration we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5 v17). This is the beginning of an infused or an imparted righteousness.Regeneration is the beginning of, and leads to, a process of sanctificationor spiritual growth. We begin to become more and more righteous inour thoughts, words and deeds—and more and more like the Lord JesusChrist. Because of the new birth we are different from what we werebefore; we show this difference by a change in our thoughts, wordsand actions; and the process of sanctification begins.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 67 No one can be justified without being regenerated. No one can beregenerated without being justified. Both go together. One is impossiblewithout the other. So there will be clear evidence in a person’s life andhis experience that he has been both justified and regenerated. If thereis no change, and no evidence, there is no regeneration and thereforethere is no justification. Justification Is Followed by Sanctification Justification is not sanctification but they are closely related and linkedtogether. Justification and regeneration will, and must, lead to the processof sanctification. There are a number of similarities between justification andsanctification. Both come from God (Romans 8 v33, 1 Thessalonians 5 v23). Both are rooted in the Person and Work of Christ (Romans 3 v24–26; 6 v5,6). Both come by faith (Romans 5 v1, Acts 26 v18). Both are essential to salvation (Romans 3 v22,26,28 and Hebrews 12 v14). Both can be found in every Christian (1 Corinthians 1 v30; 6 v11). While justification (and its twin experience, regeneration) leads tosanctification we need, at the same time, to see that there are a numberof major differences between justification and sanctification. JUSTIFICATION SANCTIFICATION It removes the guilt of sin. It gradually removes the pollution of sinful habits and desires and breaks the power of sin. It is legal and objective and It is experimental and subjective and takes place outside believers. takes place inside believers. It is a declaration by God the It is a work by God the Holy Spirit which Father about a believer’s legal makes believers more and more like status. Jesus Christ. It has happened once for all It is a process which continues. and can never be repeated. It does not and cannot grow or It grows and increases. increase. All Christians are equally Christians can vary and differ from one justified; and no one is more another in their sanctification. justified than another.
    • 68 Section 1 — Chapter 11 A Grave Mistake The Roman Catholic church and a number of liberal Protestant churchesmake a grave mistake in their teaching concerning justification andsanctification. Their mistake is to blend these two works together. Justification isfused with sanctification and becomes a process which developsprogressively throughout a person’s life. In other words, according to this teaching a person becomes moreand more justified, and indeed can never be sure whether he is justifiedor not. This means that good works become part of a “justificationprocess.” A person then is not justified by faith alone. They believethat he is justified by faith plus works. That is why we continually need to emphasize and teach the greattruth that JUSTIFICATION IS BY FAITH ALONE. The Need for Self-Examination The Bible encourages us to examine ourselves to see if we are truebelievers, and if we are in the faith or not: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13 v5). “But let a man examine himself” (1 Corinthians 11 v28). This should not give rise to introspection, morbidity or self doubts.However, we are encouraged in the Bible to look and see if there isevidence of our justification—if there is a change in our way of thinking,speaking and living. When we see the evidence of justification (andregeneration) in our lives, we will rejoice in God’s salvation, and ourassurance of that salvation will grow. If, on the other hand, we don’t see any such evidence we will realiseour need for salvation. This change, or evidence, might not be enormous or spectacular—but it should be there. There should be some change and we should beaware of it. We should be able to say: “I am not what I should be I am not what I would like to be But I praise God I am not what I used to be”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 69 Two Kinds of Righteousness We have seen that there are two kinds of righteousness taught in theBible:The righteousness of Jesus Christ. This righteousness is perfect. It cannot grow or develop. When Itrust Christ His perfect and complete righteousness is imputed to meor credited to my account by God the Judge. It can never lessen, increaseor disappear.My own righteousness. When I trust Christ I am a new person. The Holy Spirit comes tolive in me, and the process of sanctification commences. Sanctificationis the gradual growth and development of my own righteousness asthe Holy Spirit makes me more and more like Jesus Christ. It is thisinfused righteousness which is the evidence and proof that Christ’sperfect righteousness was imputed to me—when I believed. Justification and Works The main section of Scripture which deals specifically with therelationship between justification and works is James 2 v14-26, andfrom these verses we can draw a number of clear conclusions: It is possible for a person to say he has faith and to say that he isjustified—without its being true. “If someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (verse 14). The obvious and expected answer is “No.”Faith without works is dead. This kind of “faith,” which is talked about but which shows noevidence, is not saving faith. “If someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” This phrase is repeated four times by James (verses 14, 17, 20 and26). Faith is the root, it cannot be seen. Works are the fruit, they can beseen. If there is no fruit there is no root.
    • 70 Section 1 — Chapter 11 Dr Warren Wiersbe writes: “Any declaration of faith that does not result in a changed life and good works is a false declaration.”The evidence of justification is works. James gives two examples—Abraham (verses 21–23) and Rahab(verse 25). Both of these demonstrated their faith and their justificationby their works and deeds. James writes: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (verse 24). This could not possibly mean that the basis of justification is works. Both the context and the general teaching of Scripture make that clear. The death of Christ is the only basis of justification. It could not mean that the channel of justification is works. Faith, real saving faith, is the only channel, as verse 23 makes clear. It does mean that the evidence of justification is works, and if there are no works there is no saving faith. John Calvin wrote: “Faith alone justifies, but the faith which justifies is never alone.” This truth is important for every professing believer. The Bibleexhorts us to examine ourselves. Saying that we have faith is not enough.Is there evidence? Are there results? Are there works in our lives? Carnality and the Christian What has been written above does not mean that as Christians weare perfect, or that we are spiritual all the time. None of us is, or canbe, until we are glorified. Every Christian is carnal or under the controlof the flesh at some time, and from time to time. For example, theCorinthian believers were carnal at times (1 Corinthians 3 v3), and werecertainly so at the time when Paul wrote to them. Even Paul was carnal attimes (Romans 7 v14–25). But the Holy Spirit enables us little by little, and step by step, to
    • Saved by Faith Alone 71become less and less carnal and more and more spiritual. That is theprocess of sanctification. The person who says he is saved but is always and completelycarnal or permanently under the control of the flesh is, according toJames, not saved. Paul also emphasizes this in Romans 8 verses 6, 7 and 8, when hewrites: “For to be carnally minded (that is, as a permanent continual condition) is death.” “Because the carnal mind (that is, as the general direction of one’s life) is enmity against God.” But if the general direction of my life is a spiritual one, if I feeluncomfortable in sin, and if I can see something of God’s working inmy life and if I can see the change which He has wrought (little thoughit might be)—then I can see evidence that I am justified (even thoughI make many mistakes, and can even backslide and become carnalfrom time to time). Teach the Children This truth is also important in our evangelism of children. If achild trusts Christ he becomes a new creature (2 Corinthians 5 v17).He is different. There will still be sin in his life—but there must be achange of some kind. That change will be the evidence that he is saved.If there is no change, no works, no evidence, there is no salvation. Weneed to explain that to the children. We should, in our teaching, emphasize the truth that faith showsitself in works and that the root must bear fruit or it is not there. Weshould also encourage those we teach to examine themselves, withoutin any way encouraging introspection or doubts. At the same time we should never be guilty of giving the seeminglycarnal child a false sense of assurance by telling him that despite hiscarnality, he is still saved. Perhaps he is not! If his carnality is onlytemporary he is still saved; if his carnality is permanent he is not saved. However, we, as human beings, are not able to see into, and judge,the hearts of other human beings. It is therefore not our responsibilityto judge people as to whether they are saved or not. Only God knows.
    • 72 Section 1 — Chapter 11The Bible tells us to examine ourselves—not others. Some QuestionsHow would you answer a child who asked the question “How can I know if I am saved or not?” What changes (or works) should we expect to see in our own lives as a result of our faith in Christ? Would this also apply to a saved child?
    • Saved by Faith Alone 73 Chapter 12: Showers of Blessing The Results of JustificationW e can now, I believe, understand why so much emphasis was placed on this great truth of justification by men like the Apostle Paul,Martin Luther and John Calvin. Justification certainly is “the main hinge on which religion turns”(J. Calvin) and it is truly “the article of a standing or a falling church”(M. Luther). We can now appreciate why the Apostle Paul made thistruth the central theme of two of his major epistles (Romans andGalatians) and also introduced it in most of his other letters. An understanding of the truth of justification by faith bringsinnumerable blessings to the believer. What a tragedy it is that it is notclearly understood in many of our churches, and by many believers! Justification when taught, understood, and experienced, will bringmany blessings to the believer’s life. No Condemnation “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8 v1). The eighth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans is one of thegreatest chapters in the whole Bible. It commences with the assurance that for the believer there will beNO CONDEMNATION (Romans 8 v1) and closes with the truth thatfor the believer there will be NO SEPARATION (Romans 8 v39) fromthe love of God in Christ Jesus. Paul’s conclusion in Romans 8 v1 is based upon the truthsexpounded in the previous chapters of Romans, and especially the keytruth of justification by faith which he has presented, taught andillustrated—in chapters 3, 4 and 5. Later in chapter eight Paul makes it clear that for the sinner who isjustified there are three consequences: There will be no guilt (verse 33).
    • 74 Section 1 — Chapter 12 There will be no condemnation (verse 34). There will be no separation (verses 35-39). Why? Because it is God who justifies us (verse 33). All sin is forgiven by God from the point of view of eternity andjudgment, and all our sin is forgotten by Him. The Bible gives us a number of striking images to show us howcomplete and how thorough this forgiveness is: God has blotted out our sins (Isaiah 43 v25; 44 v22; Acts 3 v19). God has cast them into the depths of the sea (Micah 7 v19). God has removed them from us, as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103 v12). God has cast all of them behind His back (Isaiah 38 v17). God will remember them no more (Isaiah 43 v25; Jeremiah 31 v34). The believer will be for ever with Christ, in eternal bliss andhappiness, and will never be condemned or judged for his sin. Our service will be judged (1 Corinthians 3 v9–15; Romans 14v10–12; 2 Corinthians 5 v9–11) and will result in rewards or loss ofrewards. While this could affect and influence our position in Heavenit will not affect our blessing, our glory, our happiness, our being withChrist and our being like Him. WE ARE SECURE—FOREVER. Peace with God “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5 v1). This is a positional truth. When a person who was an enemy ofGod puts his trust in Jesus Christ he becomes a child of God and afriend of God. He has been reconciled (2 Corinthians 5 v20). Thispeace with God is not something we feel, or something which grows.It is a “positional peace” which comes instantaneously and perfectlyat the moment of justification (by faith). But as we think about, and meditate upon, the fact that we havebeen reconciled, and that we have this peace with God, our hearts will
    • Saved by Faith Alone 75be filled, more and more, with the peace of God (Philippians 4 v7; John 14v27; Colossians 3 v15). This is the experimental peace which He impartsto the justified, reconciled believer who understands that he is at peacewith God. This peace is a peace which can be felt and experienced andone which can grow. Access to God “Through whom also we have access by faith” (Romans 5 v2). This verse outlines a further consequence of justification followingon from its mention in the previous verse. The believer has access toGod through the Lord Jesus Christ—because he is now justified. The phrase “access to God” means first of all that, through ourjustification, we have already been “introduced” to God and havealready received the right and freedom to enter His Presence, and wewill always have this access. But it also means that because of this we have the privilege ofcontinual access into His Presence through prayer. This truth isemphasized in the book of Ephesians: “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2 v18). “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3 v12). This access is both direct and effective, and because of this we canapproach God at any time with freedom and confidence. Eternal Life and Sure Glorification “That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3 v7). This verse shows us that those who are justified are heirs of Godand have the sure hope of eternal life. It is important to realise that theword “hope” as used in Scripture does not refer to something vague,something which might occur, but it is a word which clearly meanscertainty.
    • 76 Section 1 — Chapter 12 “Therefore, as through one man’s offense (Adam) judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act (Jesus Christ) the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Romans 5 v18). The last three words of this verse are translated in the NIV as“justification that brings life”, and this underlines again the truth thatone of the main results of justification by faith is the certainty of eternallife. “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8 v30). This verse teaches that all who were called (effectually) werejustified, and all who were justified He also glorified. None will beleft out, forgotten or omitted. Justification and glorification go together.The person who is justified by faith will surely be glorified.Glorification is so certain for the justified that Paul uses the past tense—“He also glorified.” Salvation from God’s Wrath “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5 v9). The person who is justified by faith has no worries about the future,about judgment, or about the wrath of God. He has complete assurancethat if, and when, he would die—today, or in 40 years’ time—he willnever experience God’s wrath. This truth brings peace and assurance to the believer, and he seesthe importance of teaching it to the children. Joy “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5 v1 and 2).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 77 In these verses Paul teaches us that the person who is justified byfaith has, first of all, peace with God and then access to God—andthen as he meditates on these great truths he rejoices. And he comes back to this theme of joy as the result of justificationand reconciliation in verse 11: “And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5 v11). God’s Sons and Heirs Dr. Packer in his book “Knowing God” writes that the greatestblessing and consequence of salvation is the privilege of being adoptedinto the family of God, and of knowing that God is our Father—forever.He calls it “the highest privilege that the Gospel offers”. While adoption is not a direct consequence of justification it is atwin blessing which the believer receives along with his justificationwhen he puts his trust in Jesus Christ. Justification is our standingbefore God and adoption is our position in God’s family. Consequently, Paul links the two truths together on two occasions: “That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3 v7). “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” (Galatians 3 v24, 25 and 26). Being the sons of God, and His appointed heirs, bring innumerableblessings to the believer, and these are outlined in detail in chapter 9 ofthe second section of this book. Dedicated Service As we experience the assurance, peace and joy of this great truthwe will want others to have the same experience, especially the children.A true and correct understanding of the truth of justification by faith
    • 78 Section 1 — Chapter 12will therefore lead us more and more into a ministry of evangelism. “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10 v13 and 14). If you understand this great truth, God wants you to teach it to thechildren so that they might have forgiveness, the imputed righteousnessof Christ, no condemnation, peace with God, eternal life andglorification, salvation from God’s wrath - and real, deep, heart-feltjoy. Arise, my soul, arise, shake off thy guilty fears. The bleeding Sacrifice on my behalf appears. Before the throne my Surety stands. My name is written on His Hands. Five bleeding wounds He bears, received on Calvary; They pour effectual prayers, they strongly plead for me. “Forgive him, O forgive”, they cry, “Nor let that ransomed sinner die.” My God is reconciled, His pardoning voice I hear, He owns me for His child, I can no longer fear. With confidence I now draw nigh And “Father, Abba, Father” cry. Charles Wesley A Vital Question Have you thanked God today for all the blessings you have received because you have been justified by faith?
    • Saved by Faith Alone 79 Chapter 13: Safe and Secure The Permanence of JustificationT here are several questions which are bound to arise when the subject of justification is being studied or discussed. The questionswhich follow are all questions which I have been asked by those I wasteaching: Is everyone who claims to be justified truly justified? Can a person who has truly been justified lose his justification? If so, how? Can a justified person backslide into the world again? If he does, what happens to him? I believe that all these questions can be clearly answered from theWord of God. At the same time I realise that sincere Christians holddifferent views concerning the answers to these questions. But while Ido not want to cause controversy, I feel it is impossible to concludethis section of the book without addressing these questions. I would like, therefore, to try to answer each question as biblically,as simply and as clearly as I can. I would suggest that you read myanswers carefully, check the Scriptures concerned and then arrive atyour own conclusions. Is Everyone Who Claims to Be Justified Truly Justified? The biblical answer is clearly “No.” We have already seen that justification is always accompanied byregeneration, and that the person who is justified by faith is a newcreature ( 2 Corinthians 5 v17) who will show his faith and hisjustification by his works, and by the change in his life. James deals with this matter in detail in the second chapter of hisepistle. He writes that it is possible for a man to say he has faith andyet not have works (verse 14), and he goes on in this verse and inverses 17, 18, 20, 26 to show that such verbal faith without evidence isdead, nonexistent and does not therefore justify. The Lord Jesus in Matthew chapter 13 explains His parable of the
    • 80 Section 1 — Chapter 13seed and the soils. He shows that it is possible for someone to receivethe seed and for it to spring up initially. But because the soil is stony(verse 20), or has thorns (verse 22), it soon disappears. Only the seedwhich is sown in good ground (verse 23) brings forth fruit, even thoughthe amount of fruit varies. The stony and thorny soils represent those who hear and respond,unlike the seed by the wayside which does not respond at all. But timeshows that these are not genuine responses and eventually, for somereason, they disappear completely. In other words both these soilsrepresent those who profess salvation but are not saved. The Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 v21-23 that it is even possiblefor someone who has prophesied in His Name, and has done miracles,not to be justified. These are people who say things and make claims(verse 21), but there is no fruit and no obedience. They are like thefoolish man in the parable which follows. They hear and they evenbuild, but they do not obey. Judas Iscariot is a clear example of whatthe Lord Jesus is teaching here. He professed to be a disciple, and wecan presume he did miracles like the other disciples. But he was nevera believer and he went back to his natural state and position when thepossibility of financial gain presented itself (John 12 v6; 13 v2; 27–30; John 17 v12; Acts 1 v25). Yes, it is possible for a person to make a false profession, evensincerely, and for that person to think, to say and to claim he is justifiedwhen he is not. Unfortunately this can happen more often when people(and especially children) make this kind of profession as a result of anevangelism which pressurizes them to do something which the HolySpirit has not prepared them to do. If, and when, these people go back into the world they do not losetheir justification, because they were never justified in the first place. John speaks in 1 John 2 v19 of people like this. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 81 Can a Person Who Has Truly Been Justified Lose His Salvation? If So, How? We are not now thinking of those who claim they are justified—and time and events show that they are not. We are speaking aboutthose who have truly and sincerely trusted Jesus Christ as their Lordand Saviour and whose life has shown to a greater or lesser extent thatthey have done so. I believe that it is the clear teaching of the Bible that, if a truebeliever backslides, God will keep His Hand upon him, keep him securein his justification and will work on his heart to bring him back againto the joy of his salvation. He will lose his joy, his peace and hisfellowship with God, but he will not, and cannot, lose his justification. At the same time it must be emphasized, as we will see later, thathe will not and cannot feel happy and comfortable in sin and in theworld, because God made him a new creature and the Holy Spirit hascome to live in him. The overall teaching of Scripture is that the truly justified personcannot lose that justification but that he will show his justification bythe overall change in his life, and by his eventual perseverance in hisfaith. Many Bible verses teach that salvation and justification are eternal. These include the following verses, which I don’t have the space to study separately. You will need to do this for yourself: John 5 v24; John 6 v37–40; John 10 v28, 29; Romans 8 v1; Romans 8 v29, 30, Romans 8 v37-39; 1 Corinthians 1 v8; Philippians 1 v6; 1 Thessalonians 5 v23-24; 2 Timothy 1 v12; 2 Timothy 4 v18—and there are many more. It is true that there are some verses and passages here and there in the Bible which seem to teach that a true believer can lose his salvation and his justification. But they must have another meaning. The general teaching of Scripture is that it is not possible for this to happen and the Bible cannot contradict itself. The Lord Jesus gives a clear outline and summary of the biblical doctrine that a believer cannot lose his salvation in John 10 v28, 29.
    • 82 Section 1 — Chapter 13 “And I give them (the sheep who hear His voice and follow Him) eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” Many Bible verses teach that the believer who is truly justified by faith will never be condemned. Jesus Christ has borne all the condemnation for the believer’s sin, and it is therefore impossible for him ever to be condemned. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8 v1a). “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8 v33, 34). “Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin” (Romans 4 v6, 7, 8). (The NIV translates the latter part of verse 8 as “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him” and “never” means “never”. Another translation says, “the Lord will take no account of, nor reckon, it against him”). Once God has forgiven our sin through the work of Jesus Christ, He will never, never bring it up to us again—in this life—or at the day of judgment. Why? Because it is truly forgiven. It will never be remembered any more – and that is real blessedness. An understanding of what justification by faith means shows that it is permanent: Justification is a once-for-all declaration by God (Romans 8 v33,34). Through justification all (not some) sin is forgiven (Acts 13 v38,39). Justification places the righteousness of Jesus Christ in the believer’s account (2 Corinthians 5 v21).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 83 Justification guarantees no condemnation (Romans 8 v1). Justification brings peace with God and true and permanent reconciliation (Romans 5 v1–10). Justification ensures eternal life (Titus 3 v7). How could such declarations, results and guarantees be changed or withdrawn by a God who is faithful and who has given His Word and His promise? The fact that Jesus Christ is praying for every child of God emphasizes that none of them can be lost. He is our Great High Priest (John 17 v9,20; Romans 8 v34; Hebrews 7 v25) and in that capacity He prays for, at least, three things: that we will be kept from the evil one (John 17 v11, 15). that we will be with Him (John 17 v24). that our faith will not fail (Luke 22 v31–32). All His prayers will be answered. How could He possibly lose any of those for whom He prayed in this way? Also He is defending us as our representative and advocate (Hebrews 9 v24; 1 John 2 v1). How could He possibly lose even one of those whom He represents and defends (Romans 8 v33, 34), and who was given to Him by His Father away back in eternity (John 17 v2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 24)? My name from the palms of His hands Eternity will not erase. Impressed on His heart it remains In marks of indelible grace. Yes I to the end shall endure, As sure as the earnest is given. More happy, but not more secure, The glorified spirits in Heaven. Augustus Toplady Can a Justified Person Backslide and Go Back Into The World? Of course he can. A person who is justified can backslide for ashorter or longer time, and he can go through periods of carnality whenthe flesh is in control.
    • 84 Section 1 — Chapter 13 Paul addressed the Corinthians as carnal in 1 Corinthians 3 v1–3; and this word described them as they were at that time when Paul wrote to them. Paul speaks about his own experience of carnality in Romans 7 v14–24. Peter denied the Lord Jesus and went back into the world (Luke 22 v54–62). But the Lord Jesus prayed for him (Luke 22 v31– 32). Indeed, who of us could honestly say that we have neverbackslidden or that we have never been under the control of the flesh? But two things need to be emphasized: This state of carnality cannot be permanent. If it is and the person continues happily, continually, permanently and completely under the control of the flesh he is not saved and never was saved (Romans 8 v6–9). The person who has truly trusted Christ and is therefore truly justified cannot be truly and continually happy in the world. He has been regenerated (John 3 v5–8) and is a new creature (2 Corinthians 5 v17). The indwelling Holy Spirit will not allow him to be content and happy, for ever, in the world but He will work in his heart to restore him. If a Believer Backslides What Happens to Him? We know, now, what cannot happen to the backsliding believer.But his backsliding does have consequences. What are they? He loses his joy, his peace and his fellowship with God. These can only be restored through sincere and honest confession (1 John 1 v9). He leaves himself open to the chastisement of God Who loves him and wants to restore him (Hebrews 12 v5-11). This is illustrated clearly in what happened to Jonah. There may even be times—and these are probably comparatively rare—when God will take the backslidden believer home to Heaven without his coming back to the joy of salvation in this life. This happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 v1–11. Paul also writes about it in 1 Corinthians 11 v30.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 85 A QuestionThe two most important facts of life are: To be justified by faith in Jesus Christ To be sure that you are justifiedAre you absolutely sure that you are justified, that allyour sin is forgiven and that you will go to Heavenwhen you die?
    • 86 Section 1 — Chapter 14 Chapter 14: Don’t Forget the Children The Teaching of Justification by Faith to ChildrenI t is absolutely essential that this doctrine be taught to children. It is a vital part of the Gospel and will therefore help and encourageunsaved children to come to Jesus Christ. A better understanding of it willalso prove a blessing and a means of growth for the children who havealready trusted Christ. The first requirement for teaching the doctrine of justification is that the teacher himself is justified by faith alone in Christ alone. This is absolutely essential. I trust that you have personally trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, and that you know that you have been justified by faith. The second requirement is that the teacher has a good and clear understanding of what justification by faith means. Not every believer has a really clear understanding of this doctrine. I trust that the contents of this book have been of help to you, and a means to this end – and that you now understand clearly what it means to be justified by faith. The third requirement is that the teacher teaches this doctrine to the children in a way which will encourage them to listen to him and to understand what he is saying. It needs to be taught simply, attractively and faithfully. Much work and preparation will be needed, but it will be well worthwhile. It will obviously not be possible to teach everything concerning justification by faith in one lesson. You can see from this book how much is involved in this vital doctrine. But you can, each time you teach it, cover it from a general point of view and, at the same time, lay special emphasis upon one aspect of it. Understand and Explain What the Word Means You may not want to use the word “justification” when you areteaching the doctrine. It is a long word and rather difficult to explain.But later on you will need to introduce the word and explain it to the
    • Saved by Faith Alone 87children. It is also good for you yourself to know what the word means. There are two ways to do this: By a literal explanation of what it means (see chapter 4). By explaining the word in two simple ways: When God looks at the death of Jesus Christ, it is just – as – if – I’d – died. He took my place and died for, and instead of, me. When God looks at me as a believer it is just – as – if –I’d – never sinned. He sees me as righteous as Jesus Christ. This explanation is of course only possible when using English. Teach Justification through Bible Lessons These lessons will have as their central truth “The sinner who trustsChrist is completely forgiven” or “God sees the sinner who trusts JesusChrist as pure as Christ is” or some similar theme related to this doctrine. These lessons will appear from time to time in your regular teachingschedule. Or you may want to choose and teach such lessons whenyou feel your children have a special need for a better understandingof this doctrine. A number of lessons will lend themselves to the teaching of thistruth. The Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18 v9-14) There may not be enough in this short parable to allow you to teach it as a Bible lesson on its own. But it could be used along with other passages to illustrate the two kinds of people: those who are religious and don’t see their need of salvation (as we saw in the first chapter of this book), and those who are convicted of their sin, ask God for forgiveness and are thereby justified. David and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9). This lesson does not naturally teach justification per se, nor the need for faith, but it is an excellent illustration of grace. In chapter 7 we saw that grace is the reason for our justification. We are saved or justified by, and because of, God’s grace. Grace is receiving that which we don’t deserve. David acted in grace toward Mephibosheth, and brought him to a place of blessing, privilege and joy. God does the same for us when we trust Christ.
    • 88 Section 1 — Chapter 14 Philemon and Onesimus (the book of Philemon). This lesson illustrates the truth of imputation—or the willingness of one person to pay the debts of another person by having them transferred to his account. This truth is explained in chapters 4 and 5 of this book. Onesimus was a runaway slave. His master was Philemon. It would seem that he had wronged his master (verse 11) and had stolen from him (verse 18). Paul had then led him to Christ (verse 10). Now he pleads with Onesimus to take him back again (verse 12), not just as a slave, but as a brother (verse 16). Paul then promises to pay anything Onesimus owes, and compensate Philemon for any harm Onesimus may have done (verse 18). Although he (Paul) was not guilty of these things he was willing to assume Onesimus’ guilt and pay for it. “Put that”, he said, “on my account.” This is an illustration of what Jesus Christ has done for us so that we might be justified. The story of Abraham Abraham is perhaps the best illustration of justification by faith in the Bible (as outlined in chapter 10 of this book), and is the example most often referred to in the Scriptures. The three main truths taught concerning him are: He believed God and His Word. This is first mentioned in Genesis 15 v6 and reappears from time to time during Abraham’s life. Paul takes up the same theme in Romans chapter 4 where he deals with it in detail and also refers to it in Galatians 3. God counted him as righteous. We see this again in Genesis 15 v6. This does not mean he was perfect. The Bible makes it clear that he was not (Genesis 12 v10–20; Genesis 16 v1–6; Genesis 20). But God saw him as righteous. He demonstrated his justification by the works and the fruit in his life (James 2 v21–24). Paul lays much emphasis upon this truth in Romans chapter 4. The Old Testament sacrifices Those sacrifices which took place in the tabernacle are a good illustration of substitution. Each sacrifice gives an example of the innocent one taking the place of, and the punishment for, the guilty one.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 89 As the person, who sacrificed, offered up and killed an animal he laid his hands on it. In this way he identified himself with the sacrifice and symbolically “transferred” his guilt to the innocent animal. The animal then died and he was free. The book of Leviticus goes into this in detail. Hebrews chapters 7 and 10 also deal with it and show the fulfillment and anti-type of the sacrifices in Christ. This helps the children to understand how the Lamb of God can take our place and punishment, pay the price for our justification and thereby free us from the punishment for sin, as outlined in chapter 8 of this book. The parable of the marriage feast and the wedding garments (Matthew 22 v1–14) We saw in chapter 4 of this book that justification means that the believer is not only forgiven but that he is now clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We referred to the garments of salvation and robe of righteousness in Isaiah 61 v10, and the change of raiment in Zechariah 3 v3 and 4. This concept of salvation or justification as garments is well illustrated and explained in Matthew 22 v1–14. Only those with wedding garments were allowed into the marriage feast (verse 11 and 12). Those without such garments were cast into outer darkness (verse 13). When related to the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19 the meaning and application is obvious. All who come to that great marriage supper are clothed in “fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (verse 8). This is a righteousness which only He can give. This concept of the unclean sinner being clothed or covered by the beautiful white robe of Christ’s righteousness could be illustrated visually on the flannelboard or with a flashcard. Teach Justification through a Flashcard Lesson A flashcard lesson can consist of eight pages each with a sentence,and a visual illustration of that sentence. The eight sentences wouldprovide a skeleton outline around which the lesson would be fleshedout and presented. About 2 minutes of teaching or explanation wouldbe needed for each page as it is shown to the children. A possible outline of eight sentences to be used would be:
    • 90 Section 1 — Chapter 14 God is holy and therefore must punish sin. You need first of all to go back “to the beginning” and teach about the holiness of God, which makes justification necessary. You have sinned. This is the next logical step in your presentation. You should explain what sin is (especially with reference to the Ten Commandments), who has sinned, and the consequences of sin. You cannot be forgiven by works or by people. It is necessary now to deal with the negative side as so many children have one of these two misconceptions. Jesus Christ took the punishment for your sins. This is the key and central truth of your teaching and needs detailed clarification. A good illustration would help at this point (see page 92 onwards). You need to trust Him as your Saviour. You should now deal with the child’s responsibility to trust Jesus Christ. Again it needs to be carefully explained with a suitable illustration. This is also the opportunity to challenge and invite the unsaved children to trust Christ. All your sins will be forgiven. This is the first result of justification. A suitable Bible verse could be quoted. See the next page for examples. God will see you pure like Jesus Christ. This is the second result. The white page of the Wordless Book will be a help here. Your life will show that you are forgiven. This is your opportunity to challenge the Christian child concerning his life and witness. Does his life show to others that he is justified? What kind of change is God looking for? Also you could explain that if there is no change there is no justification. Teach Justification through the Explanation, Repetition and Learning of Bible Verses There are verses which emphasize the forgiveness of sins: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the
    • Saved by Faith Alone 91 presence of the Lord” (Acts 3 v19). “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13 v38, 39). “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103 v12). Other verses emphasize the imputation of Christ’s righteousness: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5 v19). “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5 v21). “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4 v3). You need to explain these verses to the children as you have theopportunity; and you should also encourage the children to memorizethem. For example you could teach and explain “Put on the Lord JesusChrist”or “Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ”(Romans 13v14a) as follows: “Do you like to buy or to have new clothes? I am sure all the girls do and that they really like to go to the fashion shop with their mother and look at new dresses and shoes. But I feel the boys like to buy new clothes also—perhaps a new football shirt or new trainers. The Bible speaks about having new clothes. They are not really clothes. The Bible tells us to put on or to be clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ. He, Himself, is the garment we should put on. But what does that mean? When we trust Jesus Christ as our Saviour
    • 92 Section 1 — Chapter 14 all our sin is covered by His purity. His purity is like a garment or robe which we put on, or which is put on us, at that special time—and when God looks at us He does not see our sin and uncleanness—but instead the beautiful robe of Jesus Christ’s purity. That is a really special garment—and it is available for you today. God wants you to put it on NOW. There are three lessons we can learn about this very special garment which make it different from any clothes which you buy in a shop: It does not cost anything Many of the clothes which you buy in a shop are very expensive, and often you cannot afford them. But this garment of salvation, the robe of Jesus Christ’s purity, is completely free to you. Jesus Christ purchased it on the cross with His precious blood – and now He offers it to you, free of charge. It fits everybody The clothes you want to buy are often too small for you, or too big, and it is sometimes difficult to find the right size. And when you do find the right size for yourself it will be the wrong size for your brother or sister. But this robe of Jesus Christ’s purity fits everyone exactly and perfectly. No one is too small or too big, too bad or too good. That means it is exactly right for you. It will never wear out So often our clothes become faded, and even torn with use – and after some time we feel they are no longer suitable. But Jesus Christ’s robe of purity never changes, never fades, it will be ours for ever exactly as the day we received it. Have you put on the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you dressed in His robe of purity? You can be TODAY by asking Jesus Christ to be your Saviour and by trusting Him to forgive all your sin.” Teach Justification through the Use of Illustrations These illustrations would be used in connection with, and as part ofyour Bible lesson, your flashcard lesson or your Bible verse so as to explainthis vital doctrine more simply and clearly to the children, especially those
    • Saved by Faith Alone 93with little or no Bible background. Biblical illustrations The garments of salvation (Isaiah 6l v10; Zechariah 3 v3– 5; Colossians 3 v9 and 10). The idea of special, spotless clothes being donned and completely covering everything underneath is relatively easy for children to understand. “A boy came to the palace and wanted to see the king. But his clothes were tattered, torn and dirty, and the guards said, ‘You cannot go into the king’s presence like that.’ ‘What can I do?’ asked the boy, ‘I want to see the king.’ Just then a man with a kind face appeared and asked the boy what he wanted to do. When the boy told him of his desire to see the king, this kind man said, ‘I can help you.’ And he showed the boy a beautiful white robe covered with sparkling jewels. And he told the boy if he would allow him to put this robe on over his tattered clothes he could then go and see the king. The boy was happy to hear and accept this offer. The kind man put the beautiful garment on the boy, and he looked really well. He also told the boy that he would start to clean up the tattered and dirty clothes which were now underneath the beautiful robe – but that this would take some time. The important fact was that the king would now accept the boy into the throne room because he was clothed in this beautiful garment. As the kind man led the boy into the presence of the king the boy asked him the question “Who are you?” And the kind man replied, ‘I am the king’s son.’” The example of Abraham could be referred to and explained, as Paul does in Romans chapter 4. This is the illustration he chooses and uses. “Abraham was not a superman. He was a sinner just like you and me—and no matter how hard he tried he could not become what God wanted him to be.
    • 94 Section 1 — Chapter 14 But God helped Abraham to do one thing especially. He helped him to believe what He had said. God had told Abraham that he was going to have a son, and that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham was already old and this seemed impossible, but God gave him the ability to believe His promise. And when Abraham truly believed God and his Word something wonderful happened. God saw him, not as the sinner he had been and still was, but as someone who was completely clean, pure and righteous (Romans 4 v2, 9, 22). This was not because Abraham had tried to be good (Romans 4 v22) – but simply because He had believed what God had said and had trusted Him.” Paul also uses the illustration of David (Romans 4 v6–8) and quotes what David wrote in Psalm 32 v1 and 2 concerning those like hinself who had put their trust in God. “David was a great king and a great man. But David was also a great sinner. But as he looked back over his life there were two great truths for which he was very thankful and also which made him very happy or blessed (Romans 4 v6, 7, 8). • He was happy because all his sins (and they were many) had been forgiven—and that God would not see those sins in his account (Romans 4 v8). • He was happy because God had, instead, put His righteousness in David’s account (Romans 4 v6). But how had this all happened? Was it because David was good, or tried to be good? No. It was not because of his works (Romans 4 v6). It was because David had put his faith in God (Romans 4 v5) and as a result of that he had been justified.” Illustrations from everyday life The convicted criminal who goes free when the judge pays his fine.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 95 “Two men who had been friends in their youth met yearslater in the police court of a great city. One was the judgeand the other the prisoner. Evidence was heard and theprisoner found guilty. The prisoner asked the judge, ‘Could you not free mebecause we have been such good friends?’ The judge replied, ‘No, that cannot be. Justice must bedone and the law upheld.’ So he sentenced the prisoner to either fourteen days inprison or a fine of 500 pounds. The prisoner had no money. So prison lay before him.But the judge after he had fulfilled his duty, stepped downbeside the prisoner, paid his fine, and then put his arm aroundhim and said, “Now, John, you are coming home with me todinner. And I want you to be sure that you don’t commit acrime like this again.’ Not even God can overlook sin. He must be fair and mustpunish sin. But He, the judge, then took our place and wascrucified. When we trust Him we are free—forever. However, John could have rejected the judge’s offer topay his fine. The judge was willing to do so but John couldhave said, ‘I don’t want your offer. I will go to prison instead.’How silly that would have been! Yet many boys and girls dothat today—and reject Jesus Christ’s offer to save them.The boy who steals at school but is not punished becauseanother boy takes his place and his punishment. “The new teacher at school had asked his class to helphim write down a series of rules which everyone in the classshould obey – and he said that if anyone broke one of thoserules he would be punished. Together they decided on these rules and the teacherwrote them down on the blackboard. One of the rules was,‘Do not steal.’ Tim was one of the boys in the class. He came from apoor home and was often hungry. One day Jonathan who
    • 96 Section 1 — Chapter 14 was one of the bigger boys in the class came to the teacher and told him that the sandwiches he had brought with him for lunch had disappeared. He thought someone might have stolen them. The teacher asked the class if anyone knew where Jonathan’s sandwiches were; and Tim immediately owned up. ‘I took them, sir, and ate them because I was so hungry.’ ‘I am sorry, Tim, but you have broken one of the class’s rules and you must be punished. I don’t like to do this – but I must be fair and do what I promised.’ Tim came to the front. But just then Jonathan spoke up and said to the teacher. “Excuse me sir, but would it be alright if I took Tim’s punishment instead of him?’ The teacher said, ‘Yes, that would be in order. Someone must be punished for breaking the rule and if you are willing to take his place, that is fine.’ And so Jonathan was punished instead of Tim. Afterwards Tim came to him and said, ‘Thank you, Jonathan, for taking my place and my punishment.’ So the Lord Jesus took our place and our punishment. We were the ones who sinned and broke the rules—but He volunteered to take His Father’s punishment – so that we who trust Him might not be punished. Have you thanked Him for that? However Tim could have said, ‘No thanks, I will take my own punishment.’ And some boys and girls today say “No” to the offer of Jesus Christ to save them from God’s punishment for sin.” The hen who died in the forest fire, but whose chickens were saved because they were under the hen’s wings. The farmer saw the forest fire approaching his farm and he did his best to prepare for it so that it would not cause too much damage. Little Red Hen also saw the fire coming and immediately
    • Saved by Faith Alone 97called her ten chicks to come in under her wings so theywould be safe. Nine of them did so, but the other one felt hewas too big to do that and he wanted to run around andenjoy himself. And the fire crept closer. The next morning, after the fire had swept through partsof the farm and had moved on, the farmer came out to inspectthe damage. He saw a black heap on the ground which resembled ahen. It was the remains of Little Red Hen. The hen had beenburnt in the fire and when he touched the remains with hisfoot they all fell apart. But just then nine little chickens ranout chirping and very much alive. The hen had died to saveits chicks. So the Lord Jesus died to save us. He took God’spunishment for sin and He calls boys and girls to come toHim to be saved from sin and its punishment. But then the farmer saw another little black heap. It wasthe remains of the tenth chick who had refused its mother’sinvitation to come—and it had been burnt by the fire. Unfortunately, some boys and girls say ‘No’ to Jesus Christ– and then choose to take God’s punishment for sinsthemselves.The explanation of bank accounts, and the transfer of moneyfrom one account to another, illustrating how our sin wastransferred to Christ’s account, and His righteousness istransferred to our account when we trust Him. “When you grow older you may want to keep your money,or some of your money, in a bank. If you do, you will open anaccount in that bank in your name, and your money will beput into that account. You can then draw money out of itwhenever you wish. Just pretend that you had an account in a bank, and thatI had an account in the same bank. It is possible for me to
    • 98 Section 1 — Chapter 14 ask the bank to transfer money from my account to yours; and it is possible for you to ask the bank to transfer money from your account to mine. So one day you transfer £10 into my account. That £10 is now mine. Then the next day I transfer £100 into your account. That £100 is now yours. Now just imagine a big heavenly bank. In that bank you have an account. It is full! But it is full of sin! That’s what God sees in your account. The Lord Jesus Christ has also an account in that bank. It is also full! But it is full of His purity, goodness and cleanness. Now God shows you that two transfers can be made: • Firstly, all your sin can be transferred into the account of the Lord Jesus. That sin now becomes His – and He takes the punishment for that sin from His Father. • But, secondly, when you trust Him, His purity, goodness and cleanness are transferred into your account; and when God looks at your account He does not see the sin which has been transferred out, He sees the perfect cleanness of Jesus Christ which has been transferred in.” Teach Justification through the Use of the Wordless Book The white page of the Wordless Book is one of the best and simplestillustrations of the righteousness of Christ which has been imputed tothe believer. It is a picture of how God sees us when we trust JesusChrist as our Saviour. It is not a picture of us as we are. The Wordless Book consists of five pages each of a different colour: The gold page speaks about God. His holiness and purity His wealth and power His dwelling place in heaven The dark page speaks about sin.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 99 Sin is disobedience to God’s commands. Sin must be punished by God. Everyone has sinned. The red page speaks about the death of Jesus Christ He was both God and perfect Man. He took our place on the cross. He died and poured out His blood that we might be saved (and He rose again). The white page speaks about justification by faith. God wants us to put our trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The moment we do that all our sin is forgiven. He sees us as clean (and even cleaner) than this white page. The green page speaks about growth in the Christian life. God wants the person who has trusted Christ to grow. We should read our Bibles and pray every day. We should ask God to help us become more and more like Jesus Christ. Teach Justification Through a Simple Visual You will need two pieces of cloth—one white and one black/dark incolour. Hold up your right hand and put the white cloth over it to representthe purity of Jesus Christ. Hold up your left hand and put the dark clothover it to represent your own sinfulness. Explain that when Jesus Christdied on the cross your sin was transferred to Him and He took thepunishment for it (transfer the dark cloth from your left to your right hand),and explain that when you trusted Christ His purity was transferred to you(transfer the white cloth from your right hand to your left hand). Teach Justification through Stories from Church History It is good and necessary for children to learn about the Reformationand to hear especially about how Martin Luther and others came to anunderstanding of this great doctrine. The primary issue in theReformation was this doctrine of justification by faith alone. Children will find the story of Martin Luther’s background,conversion and world changing ministry fascinating, and they need to be
    • 100 Section 1 — Chapter 14taught that it is all based upon his coming to an understanding of the truthof justification by faith as taught in Paul’s letter to the Romans. It is alsogood to show the children how this truth has affected the history of thechurch and of the world. Dawn Breaks over Europe Martin Luther, born in 1483, grew up amidst the peasants and povertyof a small mining town in fifteenth-century Germany. His father was awoodcutter who later become the manager of a small foundry, smeltingiron. He was a hardworking man, but a formidable father who imposed themost rigid discipline on his sons. In those days school was a place where knowledge was driven intoboys by fear of punishment. It was closely bound up with the CatholicChurch, and young Martin Luther was well and truly indoctrinated inthe fear of God and the power of the Pope. He once said that wheneverhe heard the name of Christ as a child he turned pale with fright,imagining a terrible judge Who would one day dominate eternity. Martin was fourteen when he went away to high school atMagdeburg, but as there was not enough money to keep him he joinedthe ranks of the poor students who begged in the streets for their living.However, he was one of the fortunate ones, because one day wealthyFrau Ursula Cotta took pity on him and welcomed him into her home.Luther was such an exceptional student that he was urged to go onwith further studies, so at the age of eighteen he set off for the mostfamous place of learning in Germany, the University of Erfurt. Withhis father now better off financially, Luther could afford to take a roomand support himself at Erfurt. He studied so hard that by the age oftwenty-two, he was achieved the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctorof Philosophy. Luther’s academic triumphs, however, could not suppress a fearwhich had come to worry him: ‘What about my soul? Where is God?What takes place in eternity?’ when one of his closest friends wasmurdered, the thought came back with even greater force: ‘What wouldhappen to me if I were suddenly called away without warning?’ Luther soon assumed the status and privileges of a lecturer at theuniversity, conscious of the admiration and pride of his parents. Howexcessively they demonstrated that pride when he spend his first holiday
    • Saved by Faith Alone 101with them as ‘Doctor Luther’! They had no inkling that their pride andsatisfaction was about to be shattered, and their son’s career thrownaway, all in the panic of a few moments. It happened while Luther was walking the last stage of his returnjourney to Erfurt. Quite suddenly, he became enveloped in a tremendousthunderstorm. As the rain poured down, Luther moved slowly on untila blinding bolt of lightning seared through the sky and struck the groundimmediately ahead of him. He fell to the ground, certain that his endhad come. Terrified, he shouted, ‘Help! Saint Anne, help! and I willimmediately become a monk.’ A peal of thunder passed away andLuther, still shaking, rose to his feet. He was stunned, surprised to bealive in the sight of his Maker. He felt there was no other course opento him than to keep his vow and to enter a monastery. He was about tosubmit himself to be bound by the very chains of superstition andmanmade religion which years later he was to shatter at the beginningof the Reformation of Europe. It was a very pale and shaken Luther who returned to Erfurt. Hepromptly invited all his friends to a final supper party at his room andbroke the news that he was going into a monastery. All pleaded withhim to change his mind, but nothing would persuade him, and as soonas the party was cleared away and his friends had dispersed, Luther setout—at the dead of night—to apply for admission to the AugustinianOrder monastery in Erfurt. He wrote later, ‘I thought God was not concerned about me and ifI got to heaven, it would depend mostly upon me. I knew no betterthan to think that by my own accomplishments, I must rid myself ofsin . . . so I became a monk and came in for a most bitter experience atthe same time. Oh, I thought that if I went into the monastery cloistersto serve God in a cowl, with head shorn, He would reward me and bidme welcome.’ His first lesson at the monastery was designed to make him humble.He was assigned to cleaning, fetching and carrying, and other simplejobs, and after the day’s work was completed, he was sent into thetown to beg for food. Luther accepted it all as an essential part of histraining, and in return he looked to the tranquillity of the monasteryand the companionship of holy men to help him attain peace of mind.He was soon to be bitterly disappointed. The more he tried to live a holy life, the more he realised how
    • 102 Section 1 — Chapter 14utterly impossible it was. The cloister certainly removed him from thetemptation of the world outside, but not from the countless sinfulthoughts of his own mind. Was there, he wondered, any cure for hispreoccupation with himself, or for constant thoughts of pride, envy,lust and hostility? Was there any way of being cut loose from lying,grumbling, complaining, gossiping, resenting, and all the other unholythings which well up from within oneself? The more Luther looked to other monks for help and example, themore dejected he grew at their shallow lives and empty chatter.Nevertheless, he took absolutely seriously all the monastic remediesfor sinful thoughts—even to the extent of inflicting punishment andtorture on himself in an effort to be ‘purified.’ Several times he renderedhimself unconscious through pain, but no matter how rigorously heperformed the prescribed self-punishing acts, he could not improvehimself or banish his impure thoughts or selfish desires. The day came when the Erfurt monastery was visited by Johannvon Staupitz—doctor of Divinity, founder of the University ofWittenberg, the Vicar General of all the Augustinian monasteries inGermany. As Staupitz walked round the cloisters there was one youngmonk he could not help noticing, and that was Luther. He was painfullyconspicuous. His sunken eyes and wasted frame betrayed his lack ofsleep and constant fasting, while his dejected expression revealed thathe had failed to find any spiritual peace as a monk. Having inquiredfor Luther’s name, Staupitz spoke to him. ‘Why are you so sad, Brother Martin?’ he asked. ‘Oh,’ replied Luther, ‘I don’t know what will become of me . . . itis useless that I make vows to God; sin is still the strongest thing inme.’ ‘Oh, my friend,’ said Staupitz, ‘over a thousand times I have vowedto God to live righteously and I have never kept my vows. Now I makeno more promises for I know I cannot keep them. If God will not showme mercy for the sake of Christ, I shall never stand before Him. If youwant to be converted, do not be eager to learn about all this self-denialand discipline and all these tortures—love Him who first loved you.’ This was certainly a new thought for Luther. He had approachedreligion entirely to get some form of personal spiritual comfort andpeace – being willing even to punish himself mercilessly to get it —but he had not started with God. He had always thought of God as a
    • Saved by Faith Alone 103remote creator, a hard taskmaster and a harsh judge, but now he had anew starting point in his search for God—he must trust Him as a Godof love. However, it was no more than a starting point, because he stillthought that he had to earn his salvation by doing all the things whichthe Church demanded. Luther had spent two years as a monk in the dark cloisters of themonastery when he was made a priest. Much of the time he created adiversion from his confused feelings by devoting himself toconsiderable study. In a damp, dark cell lit by a shaft of light from asmall window-opening and with a candle flickering over hisparchments, Luther grappled with the Greek and Hebrew texts of theBible, particularly the New Testament epistles, Romans and Galatians.But while he excelled in the technical analysis of the text, he did notyet grasp the simple meaning of their message, that sinful people cannotearn their forgiveness, but must receive it as a free gift from God. ToLuther, salvation must be worked for and deserved. Staupitz, discovering the latent genius in Luther, took a specialand paternal interest in him, and arranged with the ruler of Saxony forLuther to become Professor of Philosophy at Wittenberg University.There he taught classes, continued his own studies, and lived in a cellin a small Augustinian cloister. At the age of twenty-six Luther was called upon to make a journeywhich transformed his opinions. He was selected by a group ofmonasteries to represent their interests in a visit to the Pope at Rome.Luther grasped at the opportunity for he imagined that Rome was thevery heart of godliness—the centre of the Holy Church. He felt surethat he would derive new and vital spiritual light and experience fromthe visit, and he set out on the southward journey across the Alps withvery great—if somewhat naïve—anticipation. On his way he was stunned by the wealth of some of the monasterieshe visited, and by the hypocrisy of so many of the monks. But he wasto be more amazed by Rome itself. Luther entered Rome like a wide-eyed schoolboy, drinking in all the superstition and ceremonial,believing all that he was told, and eagerly participating in the servicesand ritual. But he soon found that the priests of Rome laughed at hisseriousness and sincerity. He was sickened by the indifferent way theyraced through their liturgical services. The more he spoke to priests,bishops and other dignitaries in Rome, whether in private or over the
    • 104 Section 1 — Chapter 14dinner table, the more he discovered hypocrisy and frivolity coupled withappalling ignorance of, and irreverence for, the things of God. Above all, he found that the city which was the centre of the ‘HolyChurch’ had the worst crime rate of any place he had set foot in, despiteits great number of priests and churches. ‘No one can imagine the sinsand scandalous crimes committed in Rome,’ he wrote. ‘The city isfilled with chaos and murder.’ Luther had never for one momentsuspected the things which he saw, but Rome demolished in one strokeall his naivety and superstitious belief. He had given his life to theRoman Catholic Church because the Church claimed the power toforgive sins and save souls. But he found that at the centre andmetropolis of the Holy Roman Empire, the proud claims of the Churchamounted to nothing. She was powerless to influence even her ownprelates and priests in the direction of true godliness. This realization of the weakness and inadequacy of the RomanChurch had a profound effect upon Luther because the Church was hisonly hope for salvation. Although he had become a monk, passed thetheological examinations and been made a priest, he had no personalassurance that his sins were forgiven, and no awareness that he was intouch with God. None of the penances, services, chanting or fastinghad helped one bit. His only hope had been to pin everything in blindtrust on the power of the Holy Church. He reasoned that if the HolyChurch said these things were the way to God, then it must be right. The fatal visit to Rome at last shattered his unanswered trust in allthe pronouncements and prescriptions of Rome. If the church couldnot be revered and respected, then neither could her pronouncements.Luther promptly lost confidence in her pomp and ceremony, and notsurprisingly, when he returned to Wittenberg he was more anxiousthan ever to understand what the Bible had to say about true religionand the way to find God. Staupitz, who was at a loss to know how to help Luther throughhis spiritual struggle, pressed him to study for the degree of Doctor ofTheology in order that he might devote himself to teaching the Bible.Luther set himself to the task and achieved the degree within two years.Then, aged twenty-eight, he was posted to the young university atWittenberg to serve as professor of the Bible. As Luther searched the New Testament for answers to his manyquestions about the true way to find God, he noticed that the only people
    • Saved by Faith Alone 105who thought themselves able to earn God’s favour were the self-righteousscribes and Pharisees, and these were roundly condemned by the LordJesus Christ. He saw that, according to the Bible—“There is none righteous,no, not one . . . for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”(Romans 3 v10 and 23). As he studied the Psalms in preparation for his lectures, he wasstruck by the terrible desolation and agony endured by Christ on theCross of Calvary—all foreshadowed in Psalm 22—and he realised thatthe only reason for such suffering was that Christ was bearing thepunishment of human sin in order to make an atonement. He felt totallyoverwhelmed as he contemplated the immeasurable love of Christ,that He should come from Heaven into this world on such a costlyerrand of mercy to undeserving sinners. But how could any individualbecome sure that his or her own sins were forgiven? For a time thisremained a great problem for Luther, until he proceeded to study andlecture on Paul’s epistles to the Romans and Galatians. Here hediscovered the meaning of conversion to Christ, and how God in thatunmistakable experience enables people to know and to feel that theirsins are forgiven, and that He has accepted them. Luther was thirty years of age when he had this experience himself.He was sitting in his cell studying Paul’s letter to the Romans when hecame to these words: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1 v17). He wrote: ‘My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, Istood before God, as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had noconfidence that my character would satisfy Him. Night and day Ipondered until I saw the link between the justice of God and thestatement that the just shall live by faith. Then I grasped that the justiceof God is the righteousness by which, through grace and sheer mercy,He justifies us through faith. Immediately I felt myself to have beenreborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The entireScripture took on a new meaning … this passage of Paul became to mea gate of Heaven.’ Luther’s discovery was that the blessings of forgiveness and a newlife from God came as a free and gracious gift to all who believe inChrist’s atoning sacrifice as the only way for the washing away of sin,and who place their trust and their lives in Christ alone for theirsalvation. Immediately Martin Luther felt certain that his sins were all
    • 106 Section 1 — Chapter 14forgiven, and that he was—by grace alone—a child of the living God, witha new heart and life. But how different was the teaching of Paul to that ofthe Church of Rome, which taught that acceptance with God is achievedon the basis of good works! Immediately after his experience of conversion, Luther’s name andfame spread as he preached and taught the Bible in churches and inmonasteries as well as in his university. He became increasinglyappalled at the avarice and hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic clergy,and the deceitful trickery of church leaders, of which Pope Julius IIwas among the most outrageous. His dissatisfaction was brought to ahead in 1517 when monks from Rome began raising money for thebuilding of St Peter’s by ‘selling’ the Pope’s pardon for sins—indulgences. The experienced vendor of indulgences Johann Tetzel, a Dominicanpriest, went from town to town selling them in the most shamefulmanner. His sermon seldom varied, and usually concluded with thesewords: ‘Consider this: that all who are contrite and make their contributionswill receive complete remission of all their sins. And listen also to thevoices of your dear dead relatives and friends imploring you and saying:“Pity us! Pity us! We suffer in dire torment from which you can redeemus for a mere pittance.” Don’t you want to help them? Hear your fatheror mother saying, “we bore you, fed you, left you our money, and nowyou are so heartless that you are not willing to set us free at such asmall price. Will you let us die here in flames?” Think that you havethe power to release them, because— The moment the coin in the coffer rings The soul from purgatory springs. On the eve of a great religious festival when great crowds gatheredin the town, Luther nailed to the church door his response – the nowfamous ‘Ninety-five Theses’ in which he denounced the sale ofindulgences and denied that the Pope could forgive sins. By the time Luther had clearly formulated the three great principlesof the Reformation: first, that sinners are justified (declared righteous)before God by faith alone, and not by their works; secondly, that everytrue believer has direct access to God without the need for the mediationof priests or church; thirdly, that the Bible is the sole authority for true
    • Saved by Faith Alone 107religion, and the church is to submit to its teaching. The struggle to break the fetters of superstitious, man-made religionhad begun. By the time of his death twenty-nine years later, Lutherhad become the great Reformer whom God used to usher in theReformation of Europe and to restore the faith of the Bible. By theenabling power of God he withstood all opposition and laboured as apreacher, teacher, writer, thinker, contender for the faith, translator ofthe Bible, and as a guide and counsellor to burgeoning Reformationchurches in Europe. Through his ministry a countless host of peoplecame to see the Lord’s method of salvation—by grace alone, throughfaith alone in Christ alone. His best-known words are probably those uttered at the end of hisdefence at the Diet of Worms in 1521, where he was condemned as aheretic and excommunicated from the Church of Rome. When calledupon to repudiate his teaching, he declared: ‘Unless I am convicted byScripture and plain reason, I cannot accept the authority of popes andcouncils, for they have contradicted each other. My conscience iscaptive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, forto go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can dono other, so help me God! Amen.’ (This historical account is a chapter from the book “Men ofDestiny” by Peter Masters (published by Wakeman Trust), and is usedby permission). A Concluding Question Are you regularly and systematically teaching this great truth of justification by faith to your children?
    • 108 Section 1 — Chapter 14 Books for Further Reading on this Subject“Salvation” by Charles Horne (published by Moody Press).“Faith Alone” by R C Sproul (published by Baker Books).“Amazing Grace” by James Montgomery Boice (published by TyndaleHouse).“Salvation: God’s Amazing Plan” by Millard Erickson (published by VictorBooks).“Key Words of the Christian Life” by Warren Wiersbe (published byBack to the Bible).“Truths that Transform” by Dr. James Kennedy (published by FlemingH. Revell).“Great Doctrines Relating to Salvation” by John Marchbanks (publishedby Loizeaux Brothers).“Romans 3 v20 – 4 v25: Atonement and Justification” by Dr. MartynLloyd Jones (published by Banner of Truth).“Romans” volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 (especially volume 1) by JamesMontgomery Boice (published by Baker Books). These books on Romanshave been a special help and blessing to me and I can highly recommendthem.(These books are not available from the CEF Specialized Book Ministry)
    • Saved by Faith Alone 109 Section 2: Reaching Children witha Liberal Protestant Background
    • 110 Section 2 — Chapter 1
    • Saved by Faith Alone 111 Table of ContentsSection 2: Reaching Children with a Liberal Protestant Background ..................................109Introduction ...............................................................................114Chapter 1 Begin with the Background .......................................116 What Is Liberal ProtestantismThe Geographical Background..........................................................116The Doctrinal Background................................................................118The Historical Background...............................................................121Chapter 2 Decisions are Needed................................................124 How Should We React To Liberal Protestantism?Reasons to Stay Inside the Liberal Church.........................................124Reasons to Leave the Liberal Church................................................125My Own Personal Reaction.............................................................126Chapter 3 Consider the Children................................................129 How Does Liberal Protestantism Affect the Children?The Source of This Influence............................................................129The Results of This Influence............................................................130Chapter 4 Consider the Scriptures..............................................133 What Does The Bible Teach About Children?Three Views of Children...................................................................133The Biblical View of Children...........................................................134Some Questions Concerning Children................................................138Two Warnings to Remember..............................................................142Chapter 5 Consider your Ministry...............................................144 How Can We Help These Children?We Need to Understand Their Needs..................................................144We Need to Evangelize Them..........................................................144We Need to Invite Them to Places Where They Can Hear the Gospel..145We Need to Be Careful....................................................................146We Need to Help Children’s Workers in Liberal Protestant Churches....147
    • 112 Section 2 — Chapter 1Chapter 6 Consider your Message...............................................149 What Should We Teach These Children?What Should We Teach Them?........................................................149How Should We Teach Them?..........................................................150Which is the Best Way?...................................................................150Chapter 7 Salvation by Faith Alone............................................152 What Must They Do To Be Saved?What is the Biblical Teaching on Salvation?......................................152What is the Teaching of Liberal Protestant Churches on Salvation?.......155The Bible Teaching on Good Works..................................................156How Can We Best Teach Justification by Faith to These Children?........157Chapter 8 Repent and be Baptised............................................158 Are They Saved Through Baptism?Baptismal Regeneration...................................................................158The Liberal Protestant Viewpoint Concerning Baptism.........................160Some Bible Verses Used to Support This Viewpoint.............................160The Bible Teaching on Baptism..........................................................163Our Responsibilities as Teachers.......................................................166Chapter 9 The Family of God.....................................................167 Is God The Father Of Every One?The Bible Teaching on the Fatherhood of God................................... 167Salvation Results in Adoption............................................................167The Need for Adoption ....................................................................168The Children Need to Hear..............................................................169The Blessings of Adoption ...............................................................169Chapter 10 The Legacy of Christian Parents.................................171 If Their Parents Are Believers, Are They Automatically Believers?Salvation through Birth/Baptism? .......................................................171An Examination of Mark 10 v14b ....................................................171An Examination of 1 Corinthians 7 v14..............................................172Conclusion ....................................................................................175
    • Saved by Faith Alone 113Chapter 11 The Truth of God.......................................................176 Is The Bible Really The Inspired Word Of God?What Do Liberal Protestants Believe/Teach?......................................176What Do We Believe/Teach?...........................................................176The Reasons for Our Belief...............................................................177How Do We Teach This Truth?............................................................178Conclusion......................................................................................179Chapter 12 The Person of Christ..................................................181 Was Jesus Christ Truly And Completely God?What Do Liberal Protestant Believe/Teach?.......................................181What Do We Believe?......................................................................182How Do We Teach This Truth?..........................................................183Chapter 13 The Origin of Man.....................................................185 Are We The Product Or Result Of Evolution?Why is Evolution Wrong?.................................................................185What Should We Do?.......................................................................186Is Evolution a Fact?...........................................................................188Chapter 14 The Next Step...........................................................196 What Is Our Response?He Understood the Child’s Need........................................................196He Had Compassion on the Child......................................................197He Prayed for the Child.....................................................................197He Went to the Child and Made Contact with Him.............................197Books for Further Reading............................................................200
    • 114 Section 2 — Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION In our study of children and child evangelism we need to devotetime to the study of every group of children who have specialbackgrounds, special doctrinal problems and special needs. This willhelp us to determine how best to reach them with the Gospel. Two ofthese groups are Roman Catholic children and Moslem children. Weare thankful for the books which have been written and the help whichwe have received concerning the evangelism of these two large andneedy groups. But there is another very large group of children who have abackground of teaching and influence which we also need to understand.These are church children who have a Protestant background. However,this Protestant background is not an evangelical and biblical Protestantbackground. In this book we will call it a liberal Protestant ormodernistic Protestant background. Many children who attend church and/or Sunday School in NorthWestern Europe and in a large number of other countries throughoutthe world which have been influenced by Europe have such abackground. It is true that the numbers of children who attend thesechurches and their Sunday Schools have declined steeply in recent years.But the influence of this background is still there. Also in many ofthese countries religious instruction is a part of the regular schoolcurriculum and as a result the majority of school children receive thisinstruction. Unfortunately this instruction is, for the most part, basedon liberal Protestantism. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we who work withchildren, and seek to evangelize them, understand the background, theinfluences and the teachings which many of them are receiving fromthese sources. Then we can better minister to them, and meet theirneeds. This was my own background as a child, as a teenager, and as ayoung adult growing up in Northern Ireland. I write therefore frompersonal experience. Some of you who read the book may well havehad the same experience. I feel strongly about this subject because, as a child and as a
    • Saved by Faith Alone 115teenager, it excluded me from hearing and understanding the Gospelof our Lord Jesus Christ. And when I did hear it for the first time Ifound it difficult to accept and believe because of all I had alreadybeen taught in the liberal Protestant church and Sunday School whichI had attended faithfully. My heart is touched and moved by the spiritualneed of so many children and young people who are today in thesituation which I was in many years ago, and I want them to have theopportunity denied to myself of hearing the Gospel as children. I trust, and pray, that this section of the book will help each readerto understand the needs of these children; and that it will, in addition,challenge all of us to do what we can to reach them for the Lord JesusChrist. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1 v12, 13).
    • 116 Section 2 — Chapter 1 Chapter 1: Begin with the Background What is Liberal Protestantism?O ur first step must be to understand what is meant by liberal Protestantism. We will approach this subject from three different,but closely inter-related, points of view. The geographical background. Where is liberal Protestantism found? The doctrinal background. What does liberal Protestantism teach? The historical background. How did liberal Protestantism develop? The Geographical Background Liberal Protestantism started in Europe. So our first focus shouldbe on this continent. There are three main religious groups in Europe today:The Roman Catholic Church The Roman Catholic church is found in most of the countries Southand South West of the continent. These include Italy, France, Spain,Portugal, Belgium, Republic of Ireland and Southern Germany. Inaddition and a little further East and North the countries of Austria,Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Croatia are also basically RomanCatholic. Also in lands such as Holland, Switzerland, the Czech Republic,England and Northern Ireland there are large Roman Catholicminorities. The degree of devotion to, and involvement in, the church variesconsiderably from France at the one extreme (where comparativelyfew are practising Roman Catholics) to Poland and the Republic ofIreland (where the majority of the people still attend church faithfullyand regularly).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 117The Orthodox Church The Orthodox church is located mostly in the countries of Easternand South Eastern Europe—Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria,Romania, Serbia and Greece. This church has some similarities to theRoman Catholic church and has an equally strong emphasis onceremony, ritual and formalism. There is, as in a number of the RomanCatholic countries, a high degree of nominalism. This has beenencouraged by the Communistic influence in most of these countriesduring the latter part of the 20th century, and also by the present growthof materialism.The Protestant Church The Protestant church has, since the Reformation, becomeestablished mostly in North Western Europe—especially in Norway,Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Holland and the UnitedKingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In addition there is asubstantial Protestant church in Switzerland and Hungary. However, many of the churches in these countries could beclassified as liberal Protestant churches. There are, of course, a numberof good fundamental Bible believing churches in all of these countries.But unfortunately the liberal Protestant churches are, by far, in themajority. The majority of the people in these lands are nominal Protestantsbut most of them are not born-again, practising Christians. In some ofthe major cities church attendance is well below 3% or 4%. In addition,these lands have been greatly influenced by materialism and humanism. I should add that there are Protestant churches in the other twoparts of Europe mentioned earlier. Usually they are comparatively fewin number and small in size. But, interestingly, they are mostlyevangelical and not usually liberal Protestant in their background andteaching. The Protestant churches in many other countries of the world havebeen greatly influenced by the liberal Protestant churches of NorthWestern Europe through the pastors, preachers and missionaries whohave gone from Europe, through the books which have been publishedin Europe, and through the teaching which nationals have receivedwhen they come to Europe for education. Consequently, many of theProtestant churches (especially in the larger denominations) in countries
    • 118 Section 2 — Chapter 1such as USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are, liberal; and this isoften true also in lands where the Protestant church is comparatively small—lands like India, Japan, Pakistan, the Caribbean countries and the countriesof East Africa. The World Council of Churches which was organized in 1948consists mostly of, and is supported by, mainline Protestantdenominations which hold to theologically liberal views. The Doctrinal Background The Protestant Reformation took place in the 16th century underthe leadership of men like John Calvin, Martin Luther and UlrichZwingli. While there were some differences on relatively minor pointsof theology, all the reformers were united on the fundamental doctrinesof the Word of God. They all believed in the inspiration of theScriptures, the Deity of Jesus Christ, the finished atoning work of JesusChrist on the cross, His resurrection, salvation by faith alone in Christalone, and in the second coming of Christ. Doctrines such as thesehave always been seen to provide the basic foundations of biblicalChristianity and Protestant Reformation theology. But since the middle of the 19th century much of historicProtestantism has moved away from these evangelical roots, and thedoctrines of the Reformation, and has become liberal in its theology. The word “liberal” means “open-minded” and “free” and it hasbeen used by those involved to commend themselves. They callthemselves liberal Protestants because they feel that they are open tonew ideas and are free from what they believe to be dogmatism andeven bigotry. However, unfortunately, their desire to be open-mindedand free has encouraged them to turn their backs on many key biblicaldoctrines and has led them, I believe, into a way of thinking and a wayof living, where little, or nothing, is sure and certain. Even though they do not agree with much of what the Reformersbelieved and taught, they still see themselves as Protestants and heirsof the Reformation.What Do Liberal Protestants Believe and Teachand What Do They Not Believe? There are, obviously, many variations from person to person andfrom place to place, but the following outline would be, more or less,
    • Saved by Faith Alone 119a reasonable summary of what most liberal Protestant pastors, theologians,and teachers believe. They believe that the Bible, though a very good book, is not inspired. According to them it is a fallible human record of the religious thinking and experience of godly men. They do not believe in the verbal inspiration and complete authority of Scriptures, but place the emphasis on reason rather than revelation. Human reasoning and religious experience replace divine revelation and the authority of Scripture. Their attitude to the Bible is one of examination and criticism—rather than of faith and acceptance. For this reason they have often been known as the “higher critics” and their beliefs as “higher criticism.” One result of this “higher criticism” has been to deny the historically held views concerning the authorship of many of the biblical books. They teach, for example, that the first five books of the Bible were not written by Moses but were a compilation of writing from at least four authors. They are also sceptical concerning Christian supernaturalism and often discredit the miraculous. They feel that the Bible has to be understood from a rational viewpoint. For example, if a story or passage is unpalatable to human understanding and reasoning it should be rejected. The higher critics have changed or restated many of our historical biblical doctrines. For example they generally believe and teach the following: Jesus Christ was fallible in His teaching. He left His Godhead behind when He came to earth and was subject, as a man, to the errors and misconceptions of His day. He is often seen only as a good teacher and a very good man, with a high ethical ideal. The death of Jesus Christ was a wonderful display of faithfulness, devotion, courage and love. But it was not an atoning and sacrificial death. He is our example, rather than our Saviour. Sin is ignorance and immaturity rather than evil. Man needs education rather than salvation. There is something inherently good in all of us.
    • 120 Section 2 — Chapter 1 Good works and church ordinances play significant roles in salvation. There is no literal second coming of Christ. There is no literal hell, and all men will eventually be saved. Some would even express doubts about the virgin birth of Jesus Christ or about His literal bodily resurrection. They believe that Christianity is not exclusive and does not have a monopoly of truth, and that all religions lead basically to the same goal. Because of this viewpoint, liberal Protestants are enthusiastic supporters of the ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches. All of this leads naturally to a belief in the universal Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man - no matter what he or she believes or practises. The evolutionary theory is accepted as truth and fact, with all the by products and consequences which flow from such a belief. Reason and science have in this case superceded revelation. There is a continual adaptation of religious ideas and concepts to modern culture and ways of thinking. Consequently, religion changes and develops. There is no final objective and unchangeable authority. There are no absolutes. Dogmatic assertions should not be made. Everything is open to question. One of the major consequences of this outlook has been the modern philosophy of Existentialism with its serious and soul destroying influences. This philosophy stresses personal viewpoint, experience and commitment in contrast to believing in an objective system, and set, of beliefs. Its emphasis is subjective and not objective. Liberal Protestantism has become more and more man-centred and man-orientated, rather than focusing upon God. It is for these reasons that the word “Modernism” is often used both by the higher critics and by their opponents to describe their influence and teaching. They place a great emphasis on the “here and now” rather than the “hereafter” and underline the need for social action and activity rather than evangelism. They are the main advocates of what has been called “the Social Gospel” which concentrates more on men’s physical needs than their spiritual needs.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 121 They place great emphasis upon religious ceremony and formalism. They often see these as a substitute for, or at least a supplement to, genuine faith and conversion. For example, the baptism of children is often seen as a means of salvation. This belief is known as Baptismal Regeneration. God’s way of salvation—justification by faith alone in Christ alone—has been changed, basically, to become a man-based way of salvation incorporating good works and, often, baptism as the means of salvation rather than the results of salvation. The liberal theologian fails to believe that all sin will be forgiven eternally the moment a sinner puts his trust in Jesus Christ (as outlined in the first section of this book). It should be emphasized that not all liberal Protestants would acceptand teach all that is outlined above, and some liberal Protestants aremore liberal or extreme than others. There are obviously a number ofvariations in what they believe. There have, for example, been newdevelopments in liberal theology which are known as “neo-orthodoxy”and “neo-liberalism”. These would be less liberal and less extreme,but the basic principles remain, for the most part, unchanged. I thinkthat the outline above would be true for many in the movement as awhole. I personally see liberal Protestantism, the beliefs of which I haveoutlined above, as one of the greatest dangers and threats to the spiritualwelfare of children, and one of the greatest hindrances to theirevangelism. At the same time I recognize the sincerity and integrity ofmany of its proponents and I acknowledge that many of them arecourteous gentlemen and beyond individual reproach. But theirinfluence and teaching have, I believe, wrought considerable harm inmany countries, in many churches, and the lives of many people, bothyoung and old have been infiltrated with doctrinal “poison”. As aconsequence, multitudes have closed their hearts to Jesus Christ andHis glorious Gospel—or have not had the opportunity to hear thatGospel. The Historical Background The two roots of this movement go back to the 16th, 17th and 18thcenturies:
    • 122 Section 2 — Chapter 1 The Age of Renaissance The age of renaissance and enlightenment with its growth in knowledge placed its emphasis upon man. The term “renaissance” means new birth and describes the intellectual awakening that took place in Europe after the Middle Ages. Man, and the glory of man, became central in thought and study rather than God and the glory of God. Interest in man and the world became more important than consideration of God and Heaven. With this new interest came a reliance on human reason rather than divine revelation, and a scepticism concerning the Bible and the supernatural. This “enlightenment” philosophy of the secular humanists laid the foundation for religious liberalism with its denial of supernaturalism. The Influence of the Roman Catholic Church The teaching and influence of the Roman Catholic church, especially in the areas of baptismal regeneration and salvation by works, have been considerable. Although the Protestant Reformation took place in the 16th century it was difficult for many to break completely with some of the fallacies of Roman Catholic teaching. Several of these false teachings remained in one form or another in a number of “Protestant” churches and denominations. These included the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and the belief that justification was a process which, hopefully, would end one day in salvation. Also the Roman Catholic emphasis upon ceremony and formalism continued to be attractive to some of the new Protestant groups. These Roman Catholic influences in many cases continued to operate and gave rise to much of the formalism and ceremony found later in some liberal Protestant churches.The Development of the “Liberal Protestant Movement” The “liberal Protestant movement” itself really began in the mid19th century. It started in Germany and was led by a number oftheologians who disagreed with the authorship and dates of many ofthe Bible books, especially the first five books of Moses. This was thebeginning of what came to be known as “higher criticism”. It exaltedthe ability and centrality of man and would prove to be very attractiveto religious “intellectuals.”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 123 The next step for these “higher critics” and their followers was todeny the accuracy and inspiration of Scripture. They rejected all thatcould not be explained and understood by human reason, and as afurther and natural consequence, their next step was to reject and denya number of the historic doctrines of the Christian faith. This teaching then started to spread from Germany to Protestantdenominations and churches in other countries of North Western Europeincluding Holland, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the countriesof Scandinavia. At a later date, the same happened in other lands suchas USA, Canada and Australia. It infiltrated many of the majorProtestant denominations to a lesser or, more usually, to a greater extent. This teaching gradually became more and more acceptable andwas increasingly seen as normal in many Protestant circles. Many,indeed most, of Europe’s Protestant and denominational seminaries(and later many in USA and other countries) became liberal in theirtheology and in their teaching. This, in turn, was to lead to a spiritualdecline in many of these denominations in a number of these countries,as “the poison” spread from the seminaries down to the pulpits and outto the pews. As the pulpit lost its authority and its emphasis uponobjective truth and authority, fewer and fewer people were willing tolisten. As a consequence, many main line Protestant denominationshave been affected by, infiltrated by, or even, in some cases, controlledby, liberal Protestantism. It is true, as we have seen above, that some of the older liberaltheology has been somewhat modified and moderated by more recentdevelopments and movements such as neo-orthodoxy and neo-liberalism. But it needs to be recognized that many of the sameunderlying beliefs and philosophies are still there and remain basicallyunchanged.
    • 124 Section 2 — Chapter 2 Chapter 2: Decisions are Needed How Should We React to Liberal Protestantism?I t is wonderful when a person who has grown up in a liberal Protestant church trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Thisusually happens through personal contact with a person outside that churchwho evangelizes him, or through attendance at an evangelistic campaignheld elsewhere, or in some other way obviously not connected with hisown church. But he now needs to make a decision. Should he stay in that liberalchurch or should he look for, and join, another church which would befundamental in its beliefs and teachings? This is a very personal decision which he himself must make andhe needs to seek God’s clear guidance on the matter. Reasons to Stay Inside the Liberal Church Some people in this situation decide to stay in the liberal Protestantchurch in which they grew up believing that there are good reasons fortheir decision. They will have the opportunity from the inside to evangelize people in the church. They feel that, if they left, this door would be closed. They can also evangelize and teach the children in the church who would otherwise receive the same liberal teaching they had themselves received. In some cases, there are those who find it difficult to separate from a church and a church system, even with its errors, in which they have grown up and with which they are so familiar. Others fear that such a step could alienate their families and friends, and lessen the possibilities of evangelizing them. There may sometimes be a problem when there is not an evangelical church within reasonable travelling distance.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 125 Reasons to Leave the Liberal Church On the other hand some with this background who come to Christ feelthat they should leave that church, and find one which can be a real spiritualhome for them. They realize that this would probably result in the closingof doors as far as evangelism and work within that church is concerned.But, on the other hand, they doubt if they would have this possibility, andthe freedom to exercise it, even if they stayed. Their main reasons for leaving are three-fold. They realize that they will receive no spiritual food if they remain. Someone has said, “Eggs are never hatched by a dead hen.” They feel that if they are to grow spiritually they need to be fed on a regular basis by someone who loves, believes and preaches the Word of God. They feel it is not biblical or correct to remain in that kind of church, and to sit under the teaching of someone who does not believe the Bible to be truly the Word of God and who even, at times, criticises it. They quote verses such as 2 Corinthians 6 vl4-l8 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Also if those concerned are parents they may be afraid of the influence the church could have on their children, and they would covet for their children the teaching and influence of a Bible believing church. It is up to all who are in this situation to make up their own mindsas to what they should do, as they seek God’s guidance. At the sametime it is not good or helpful for a person who makes one decision tocondemn as unspiritual the person who makes the opposite decision!
    • 126 Section 2 — Chapter 2 My Own Personal Reaction My wife and I both grew up in the same liberal Protestant church inBelfast, Northern Ireland. We were both baptised in that church as infants,we both attended Sunday School, and we both, at the age of 14, wentthrough the ceremony of confirmation leading to church membership(without yet knowing each other). We both attended church regularly, prayedoccasionally and read the Bible from time to time. If I had been asked if I were a Christian, I would probably havereplied in the affirmative, although with some hesitation. Our pastorwas, as far as I can now conclude, not a born again man. He was a veryfine person in many ways and was highly respected by myself andmany others. But it was obvious that he did not believe that the Biblewas, in its entirety, the Word of God and without error. When Iquestioned him, and the pastor from the same denomination , who was thechaplain at my University, about the historicity of the Bible they both saidthat parts of the Bible could not be regarded as literally true. The Gospel was never preached in our church, and it was obviousthat the pastor regarded all the church members, who had been baptisedand confirmed, as being Christians and already in the Kingdom ofHeaven. Both my wife and I trusted Jesus Christ as our Saviour in our earlytwenties through the witness of a young missionary couple with whomwe had become friendly. I must confess that it was difficult for me totake this step because of my background and the influence of the churchin which I had grown up. How could I believe what the Bible saidwhen I had been brought up to believe that the Bible was not completelytrue? How thankful I am for the patience of God and the gracious,convicting and regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. I shared with my pastor that I had trusted Jesus Christ as my Saviour,and that I now believed the Bible to be absolutely and completely true.He was shocked, obviously disappointed and quite critical. My wife and I continued to pray that God would show us what todo and we came to three decisions. These were to be our own personalreactions to liberal Protestantism. We decided firstly to leave the church in which we had bothbeen brought up. We could not continue to sit under the preaching of a man whogave every impression of not being converted, and who, in addition,
    • Saved by Faith Alone 127openly denied and criticized the verbal inspiration of Scripture. Wefound a church which was to be our spiritual home for years to come,and where we could receive the spiritual food and encouragement whichwe needed for our growth as Christians. At the same time I don’t want to criticise those who made a differentdecision from ours. In the liberal church which we attended (and whichwe later left) there was another couple who had trusted Jesus Christ astheir Saviour. They decided to stay in the church and witness thereconcerning their new found faith. And the Lord blessed them and usedthem. Indeed we and they later became co-workers in Child EvangelismFellowship, and had the privilege of seeing God bless our unitedministry. However, my heart goes out to those people, especially youngpeople, who for one reason or another feel they should continue, aftertheir conversion, to attend a liberal Protestant church, and to sit underthe teaching and influence of someone who is not converted. We decided secondly not to spend time reading liberal literatureand listening to liberal teaching—unless it was necessary orunavoidable. It is helpful to know what these people are teaching, and tounderstand the background with which so many of our children aregrowing up, but much of the teaching of liberal Protestantism ispoisonous and harmful. Therefore we decided to read, listen to andstudy as little as possible of that teaching. I don’t feel it is good toabsorb poison just so that I can better understand it! It is for these reasons that I would discourage any young personfrom going to study in a Seminary or Bible School where the teachingis liberal rather than fundamental and biblical. I would also discourageyoung people in school from studying for examinations which involvethe detailed study, and therefore, to some extent, the absorption ofliberal teaching—unless it is compulsory to do so. If they must dosuch studies they need to be careful not to be influenced by them. We decided thirdly to do what we could to reach, teach andevangelize children who are growing up with the same backgroundas we had experienced. It is easy to be negative. But we want to be positive and our goalshould be to give the kind of help to these children which we wish wehad received when we were their age.
    • 128 Section 2 — Chapter 2 What a joy it has been to reach many such children, and also to havehad the privilege of seeing a number trust the Lord Jesus Christ as theirSaviour. And what a thrill it has been to be able, on a number of occasions,to teach and train teachers who have decided to stay in churches likethese—so that they, in turn, can better teach and evangelize the childrenthere.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 129 Chapter 3: Consider the Children How Does Liberal Protestantism Affect the Children?M illions of children are being influenced and affected by this movement. The Source of This Influence Children have come into contact with the teaching of LiberalProtestantism in one of three ways: by attending liberal Sunday Schools and churches by sitting in religious instruction classes in school—in countries where religious instruction is permitted in the public school system by absorbing the atmosphere and background of “liberal Protestant” countries. A fairly large number of children still attend liberal SundaySchools and churches (although that number is steadily declining)and are being taught liberal doctrines there. A much larger number attend religious instruction classes intheir day schools—in a number of countries where such classes arepossible. The syllabus for these classes is almost always liberal in itstheology and many of the teachers teach what is contained in thesyllabus because it does not require, on their part, any great faith ordevotion. Others teach in a critical way, while others just teach thematerial without taking up any position regarding it. But the end resultis that multitudes of children are subjected, to a lesser or greater extent,to liberal teaching throughout their school days. I was a teacher in a high school for fourteen years. Religiousinstruction was included in the syllabus, so what I am writing is basedupon my own observation. We are thankful for teachers of religious instruction who areChristians and fundamental in their beliefs and teaching. Butregrettably, they are a very small minority, and, when they are supposedto teach with a liberal syllabus as their basis, are in a very difficult
    • 130 Section 2 — Chapter 3position. The whole atmosphere and background of Protestant countrieshas been so influenced and permeated by these teachings over thelast hundred years that there is little understanding of, and desire for,evangelical biblical teaching. The standards and requirements of liberalProtestantism are attractive to the self-centred materialism of today.At the same time they build up resistance to a Gospel which, whilebased upon personal faith in Christ, demands obedience and awillingness to submit to biblical standards. The Results of This Influence The consequences of these teachings and influences in the lives ofthe children are many, and, I believe, extremely serious. They have little or no understanding of vital and fundamentalBible truths. They are often familiar with a number of Bible stories and manyhave even absorbed a number of Bible facts. They may even havememorized some catechism answers. But they often fail to understand,or to be really acquainted with, many of the basic truths and doctrinesof the Bible: the inspiration of Scripture the holiness and justice of God the perfect humanity and complete divinity of Jesus Christ the atoning sacrifice for sin of Jesus Christ on the cross the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ the second coming of Jesus Christ the sinful nature of all mankind as a consequence of the fall of man God’s redeeming love and saving grace towards sinners salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone the person and work of the Holy Spirit the existence of the devil the reality of judgement and of hell We need to remember that it is the truth which sets us free (John8 v32). What the children are, and what the children do, is based uponwhat they understand and believe concerning Bible doctrine and Bibletruth.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 131 They have been greatly influenced against the possibility ofbelieving Bible truths by the present atmosphere of scepticism, doubtand even criticism concerning the Bible and its major and basicdoctrines. Belief in the Bible is often portrayed as something oldfashioned, simplistic and even effeminate in the media. Also, in manyof our schools any interest there may have been in theology has usuallybeen replaced by secular humanism. It is difficult to overestimate the way modern liberalism hasconditioned the minds of our children against a true and simple faith inthe truths of the Bible. Such children are usually more difficult to reachthan those who have no understanding at all concerning the Bible, andwho have not been subjected to such negative influences. These children often have a sense of spiritual security and alack of concern with regard to their spiritual position. They havebeen taught that church ordinances such as baptism and confirmationhave made them Christians. They are therefore already children ofGod and do not see their need for any further steps. They are comfortedby the fact that their pastors, teachers and often their parents share thissense of spiritual security and regard them as Christians, not as sinnersneeding salvation. They have generally been taught, and usually believe, that theirfuture and their eternity (if such exists) depends upon their good works,supported by the church’s ritualism and by ceremonies such as baptismand confirmation. Many have the idea that if there is a judgment day in the future(and this is not certain) God will somehow weigh, or balance, theirgood deeds against their bad deeds. If the former are greater or heavier(and baptism and confirmation will certainly help them to be so) theywill go to Heaven. It is helpful for those of us who minister to these children tounderstand their background, where they are coming from, and whatthey believe so that we will then be in a better position to help them.We will commence our detailed study of their background in chapter5. But first of all we need to clarify in our own minds what the Bibleactually teaches about children, and then we will be able to see moreclearly how the teaching of liberal Protestantism measures up to that.
    • 132 Section 2 — Chapter 3 Also when these children hear the Gospel and trust Jesus Christas their Saviour they often have problems. They may, for example, still retain doubts about the truthfulnessof Scripture, and they often lack assurance of salvation.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 133 Chapter 4: Consider the Scriptures What Does the Bible Teach about Chidren?O ur understanding of children and our approach to them should be guided by, and based upon, the clear teaching of the Word ofGod. People’s views, opinions and theories have their place but must,at all times, be subservient to the Scriptures. What I think and say, andwhat others think and say, must be measured against what God hassaid. Education, philosophy and psychology are all very important intheir own place, but the Bible must hold and occupy first place. Whena theory or viewpoint differs from the teaching of the Bible, then it iswrong. Three Views of Children There are at least three views of children and their position beforeGod, but only one of these can be correct: The first view is that all children, without exception, are already in the Kingdom of God. That they were born into it, and will remain in it unless or until they decide to leave it, is the general view of liberal Protestantism. Its proponents would see all children as inherently good, comparatively innocent and certainly not under God’s judgment at any time. They need education, nurture and growth. They do not need evangelism and salvation. Unfortunately some well intentioned evangelicals share this viewpoint. There is nothing in the Bible to support this viewpoint. The second view is that some children are born into the Kingdom of God, and some are not. Those who are born into the Kingdom of God are the children of believers, or of one parent who is a believer. Those who are not born into the Kingdom of God are the children of unbelievers. This viewpoint is also believed by some evangelicals. An alternative to this viewpoint is that children who are baptised are in the Kingdom of God, and those who are not baptised are
    • 134 Section 2 — Chapter 4 not in it. This is basically the teaching of the Roman Catholic church, but its influence is evident in some liberal Protestant churches. There is nothing in the Bible to support this viewpoint. The third view and, I believe, the biblical viewpoint is the one outlined in the remaining part of this chapter. The Biblical View of Children There are a number of simple truths about all children which are clearlyoutlined in the Bible. These include the children of believers and the childrenof non-believers. Some of these Bible truths refer specifically to children.Others speak clearly about everybody, and that of course, includes children.All Children Are Born with a Sinful Nature “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51 v5). “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17 v9). “All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7 v23). “By nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Ephesians 2 v3).All Children Actually Commit Sin from a Very Early Age “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (Psalm 58 v3). “Death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5 v12). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3 v23). “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isaiah 53 v6).Everyone (Including Children) Is Born Spiritually Dead“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision ofyour flesh” (Colossians 2 v13).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 135 “For as in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15 v22). “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one” (Romans 5 v12). “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2 v1). “Even when we were dead in trespasses” (Ephesians 2 v5).Everyone (Including Children) Is Outside God’s Kingdom Everyone is born outside God’s kingdom and is therefore lost asfar as their position is concerned, unless and until they trust Jesus Christas Saviour. “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3 v3). “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3 v5). “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18 v11, 12, 13, 14) All these four verses were given in the context of children.A Holy and Just God Must Punish Sin The holiness and justice of God require that all sin and all sinnersmust be judged and punished: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1 v18). “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6 v23). “(We) were by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2 v3). “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all
    • 136 Section 2 — Chapter 4 men” (Romans 5 v16, 18).Jesus Christ Died for Sinners Jesus Christ has died as an atoning sacrifice and has taken thepunishment for sin: “Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood” (Romans 3 v25). “Having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5 v9). “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3 v13). “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1 v14).Salvation Is by Faith in Jesus Christ Entrance into God’s kingdom comes only through personal faithand the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3 v3 and 5). “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18 v3). Justification, including the total forgiveness of sin, is appropriatedsolely and completely by faith. “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3 v28). “That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3 v26). “Everyone who believes is justified from all things” (Acts 13 v39). No church ordinance, family connection or self-effort canregenerate or justify:
    • Saved by Faith Alone 137 “To those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1 v12, 13). “A man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2 v16).Jesus Christ Gives Life to Those Who Trust Him Spiritual life comes to the spiritually dead person (includingchildren) only through faith in Jesus Christ: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3 v16). “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” (John 3 v36). “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6 v23).There Are Two Kinds of Children It is clear from the many Scriptures quoted above, and similarverses, that there are two kinds of people and two kinds of children. Those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Saviour and who are therefore justified, regenerated, inside God’s kingdom and spiritually alive. Those who have not trusted Jesus Christ as their Saviour and who as a consequence are not forgiven, are not regenerated, are outside God’s kingdom and are spiritually dead. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3 v36). “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already” (John 3 v18). Every child has either trusted Jesus Christ, or has not trusted Him,is justified or not justified, is regenerated or not regenerated, is insideGod’s kingdom or outside it, is spiritually alive or spiritually dead.
    • 138 Section 2 — Chapter 4God Uses the Gospel to Speak to Children’s Hearts A child is saved, regenerated and justified when he hears, understandsand responds to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and trusts Him as hisLord and Saviour. “The gospel . . . is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1 v16). “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10 v17). “And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10 v14).Children Need to Be Evangelized “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16 v15). This is why it is so necessary to evangelize children. If we do notsee their spiritual need, we will have no burden or desire to bring theGospel to them and to challenge them to trust Jesus Christ as theirSaviour. The greatest hindrances to the evangelism of children in countrieswhere liberal Protestantism is strong are the lack of understandingconcerning the spiritual need of children, the failure to see that theatoning death of Jesus Christ is able, through personal faith, to meetthat need, and the false assurance that baptism has regenerated thechildren. The consequence is that the evangelism of children is seen,firstly, as completely unnecessary and, secondly, as something whichneeds not only to be discouraged, but often to be opposed. Some Questions Concerning ChildrenThere are four questions concerning children we need to answer beforecompleting this chapter:1. Can children, even little children, put their trust in Jesus Christ as Lordand Saviour and be, thereby justified and regenerated? Or is it necessary for them to wait until they are adults or, at least,teenagers?
    • Saved by Faith Alone 139The Bible makes it clear that it is possible for a child to fear theLord.“Gather the people together, men and women and little ones,and the stranger who is within your gates, that they mayhear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your Godand carefully observe all the words of this law, and that theirchildren, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fearthe LORD your God as long as you live in the land whichyou cross the Jordan to possess” (Deuteronomy 31 v12 and13).The Bible makes it clear that a child can set his hope in God: “That they may set their hope in God, and not forget theworks of God, but keep His commandments” (Psalm 78 v7).The Bible makes it clear that a child can hear and respond to thevoice of God:“Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times,‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for Yourservant hears’” (1 Samuel 3 v10).The Bible makes it clear that a little child can trust the LordJesus Christ:“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe inMe to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hungaround his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of thesea” (Matthew 18 v6).There were children in the early church who had put their faithin Jesus Christ:“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to thesaints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus”(Ephesians 1 v1). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, forthis is right” (Ephesians 6 v1).“If a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful(believing) children not accused of dissipation or insubordination”(Titus 1 v6).The Bible also teaches that the Gospel is for everyone, and thateveryone who trusts Christ (with no limitations concerning race,denomination, nationality or age) is saved.“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
    • 140 Section 2 — Chapter 4 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3 v16). This truth can also be seen in Acts 13 v39; John 1 v12; John 3 v36; Romans 10 v9. Also we know from experience, and from testimonies which we have heard, that many have truly trusted Jesus Christ as their Saviour while still children, and their spiritual growth and development since then have proved the reality of their experience.2. Is it correct and biblical to evangelize children? If so, what exactly does it mean to evangelize children? The biblical command to evangelize is found in the words of Mark16 v15 where the Lord Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preachthe Gospel to every creature.” Biblical evangelism is total evangelism.No one is excluded. Adults, teenagers and children all need to beevangelized because that is what the Lord Jesus commanded. But Hedid not just tell us what we should do, He also told us what we shouldsay. The message of evangelism is found in the words and command ofthe Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 24 v46–48: “Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things’.” The facts of the Gospel are outlined in verse 46. These are primarily the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The command of the Gospel is given in verse 47. Sinners are commanded to repent (and faith comes with that). The result of the Gospel is emphasized in verse 48. The sinner who repents is completely forgiven. When we evangelize children therefore we should, basically, teachthem three things: They need to be saved, because of the holiness of God and because of their sinfulness
    • Saved by Faith Alone 141 They can be saved because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ They will be saved if they, in their hearts, turn from their sin and trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour3. What does the Bible teach concerning infants andwhat happens to them when they die? The Bible makes very few direct statements on this subject. But Ibelieve that there are certain deductions from Bible verses which answerthe question. It is obvious from what we have already outlined that infants havea sinful nature, are spiritually dead and are outside the Kingdom ofGod (or “lost” as far as their position is concerned). But this does notmean that the infant who dies will be lost forever. This could notpossibly be so for the following reasons: The Bible emphasizes that a person of any age is lost forever because of his personal unbelief or rejection of God and His Word (John 3 v18; John 3 v36 - and many other verses). It is the one who “believes not” who is condemned. “This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light” (John 3 v19). An infant has not reached an age when he can understand and reject what God has said and revealed. Therefore, although he is spiritually dead and lost as far as his position is concerned, if he dies he will not be condemned, or lost, forever. There are Bible verses which imply that there is an age of understanding and accountability, although they do not specifically use the term. These include Deuteronomy 1 v39; Isaiah 7 v16; Jonah 4 vll. We read in 2 Samuel 12 v23 that David had the assurance that his little infant child who had died had gone to Heaven, and that he would see him again one day. “But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Samuel 12 v23). All that we know about the character of God would surely indicate that He would never condemn to eternal punishment a little
    • 142 Section 2 — Chapter 4 one who understands nothing, and who has never consciously rejected Him. What I have outlined here has been the belief and teaching of many evangelical leaders and teachers down through the centuries. For example Mr. John Niver, a pastor in Canada writes: “Children who die before reaching the threshold of understanding (either because of their age or mental deficiency) are covered by Christ’s atonement.” However, this gives rise to a fourth question:4. How is it possible for a spiritually dead infant who is outsideGod’s kingdom to enter Heaven if and when he dies? We don’t really know the answer to this question because the Bibledoes not give us the answer. The Bible makes it clear that the onlyentrance to God’s kingdom is through the new birth (John 3 v3, 5;Matthew 18 v3;). But perhaps Charles Spurgeon was correct when heoutlined his belief that infants or little ones who are not able, or oldenough, to reject Jesus Christ are regenerated at the moment of deathby a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. So at the moment of death andon the basis of that work they are regenerated and enter God’s kingdom. Two Warnings to Remember There are two key principles we should always keep in mind: While it is comforting for us to understand what happens to little ones when they die, we must avoid the sense of false security which, for example, sets their age of accountability at around eleven, twelve and thirteen! The age of accountability will obviously vary from child to child, but it is generally much earlier than most Christians believe. The Bible says very little on the subject of infants and little ones and the age of accountability. The reason is, reverently speaking, because it is not really our business. Our business is to see all children as lost and to evangelize all children no matter what age they are. God knows their spiritual position and their spiritual condition. He (and He alone) knows their hearts. The command of Jesus Christ to us is to evangelize all of them, and to leave the matters of accountability and response to the message in His Hands.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 143 Chapter 5: Consider your Ministry How Can We Help these Children?W e have already, in the previous chapter, gone a long way towards the answering of this question. But I would like to outline simplyand logically what we can, and must, do if we are to give these children thespiritual help which they need. We Need to Understand Their Needs We cannot give the solution if we don’t understand the problem. Theprimary problem in many liberal Protestant Sunday Schools is that theteachers do not realize and understand that their children need to be savedthrough faith in Christ and that it is possible for them to be saved. Onereason is, of course, that a number of these teachers themselves have notbeen saved. But even where teachers have trusted Christ they often donot see the spiritual need of the children they teach. Many do not understandthat there are two kinds of children, those who are saved and those whoare not, and that it is their responsibility to evangelize the unsaved children.Unfortunately this is also true of many teachers in churches which areevangelical and fundamental. The consequence is that these children have never been evangelized.They don’t know that they need to trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour,and they certainly don’t know how they can do so. In addition, thesechildren believe that they are already Christians because they havebeen baptized. We Need to Evangelize Them We need to evangelize the children whenever we have theopportunity to do so. This means, as was explained in the previouschapter, that we should teach and explain the Gospel to them simplyand clearly, and encourage them to respond to the message by puttingtheir trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should also, as we will seelater, place a strong emphasis in our evangelism on those truths whichthey have not been taught or concerning which they have had erroneousteaching.
    • 144 Section 2 — Chapter 5 We should also inform them that if they need personal guidance intrusting Christ we are ready to help them if they come to us forcounselling afterwards. But no pressure of any kind should ever be putupon these children, or indeed upon any children, to come to Christ.We should never coerce, frighten or pressurise any child. It is the HolySpirit who speaks to their hearts and enables them to trust Christ. Pressure can result in a response which is not the work of the HolySpirit and can cause serious spiritual harm to the children. I also feel that we should avoid asking them to raise their hands orto make some similar type of immediate physical response if they wantto be saved. When I am evangelizing children and explaining the Gospelto them I make myself available to those who want to be counselledand receive spiritual help by using words like these: “If there is a child here who is not saved and has not trusted theLord Jesus, and you would like to trust Him but you are not sure howto do so, I will be glad to speak with you and help you. Just come andsee me after the meeting. I will be here beside the piano.” We Need to Invite Them to Places Where They Can Hear the Gospel We ourselves should look for opportunities to invite these children toattend meetings where the Gospel is presented in a correct and biblicalway. This will give us the opportunity to evangelize them, and willhelp compensate for what they have not heard or received in theirliberal Protestant church, or in their religious education classes atschool. These meetings can take many different forms: Good News Clubs held weekly in a neighbourhood home Open-air meetings conducted daily or weekly Special one-off evangelistic rallies, or campaigns lasting one week Camps to which these children can come for one week, or a weekend Or these children can be exposed to the Gospel in other ways. Through tract distribution (putting a Gospel tract into the hands of each child)
    • Saved by Faith Alone 145 Through correspondence courses as a follow-up to the tract distribution Through personal contacts and conversations with individual children, or groups of children We Need to Be Careful However, four words of warning need to be heeded if you attemptto reach these children in any of the ways outlined above: You should make, and keep in, contact with the parents of the children. You will need to obtain permission of the parents for many of these activities and you should then keep them informed of what you are doing. Always be open with them about yourself and your activities. They may not be too enthusiastic (although some will be), but often they will not forbid their children to come if you are open and honest with them. As an act of courtesy, you should make contact with the pastor of the local liberal Protestant church. You are not asking him for his help or co-operation but you might allay some of the suspicions he could have, especially if he knows nothing about you and your work. Visit him, and inform him about yourself and what you are doing. Be courteous and friendly at all times even though you do not agree with his theological position. You need to follow up thoroughly those children from this background who have trusted Christ. You might even find that your Good News Club becomes their spiritual home instead of the liberal church or Sunday School which they also attend. You should not try to take children away from either the church or Sunday School which they are attending. If you do, you could lose them completely. Instead, you should do what you can to give them the spiritual help they need, and pray that when they are old enough to make their own decision, they will look for a more helpful and permanent spiritual home. However, if they have a liberal background but do not attend Sunday School or church you should pray about the possibility of asking the parents for permission to take them to your Sunday School.
    • 146 Section 2 — Chapter 5 We Need to Help Children’s Workers in Liberal Protestant Churches We need to help and encourage those born again believers whohave decided to remain in their liberal Protestant churches, and thoseborn again believers who teach religious instruction in schools. Theycan then better evangelize and nurture the children in their care; andthey can give them the teaching they would otherwise not receive. You and I can provide this help and encouragement in a number ofways: You can help by training these teachers as to how they can best teach and evangelize their children. This training can be done in a number of ways: by having a “Teaching Children Effectively” training course for them by having a special seminar for them by encouraging them to attend your regular training class If your training programme is attractive and effective a number of them will probably come and receive the help they need. Make sure you keep their special position and needs in mind as you prepare your lessons and materials for your training class. Be careful to watch your attitude as you teach. Even if you do not agree with believers remaining in this church system, you must not in any way convey a sense of disapproval or criticism. Remember also that there might be some teachers who come to your classes who are not themselves born again. Therefore from time to time include some evangelism; but do so in a kind, loving, yet clear way. You can help by making available literature which they can use in their ministry. The teaching materials of Child Evangelism Fellowship are, I believe, the best in the world both for child evangelism and for child nurture. So you need to demonstrate these materials to the teachers who come, and encourage them to buy, or borrow, them and use them in their ministry. You can help by praying for them and their ministry. You need to pray especially that they will have freedom to teach and evangelize, without compromising what they believe and what
    • Saved by Faith Alone 147 they want the children to understand and believe. They need much wisdom. So pray James 1 verse 5 for them.“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives toall liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him”(James 1 v5).
    • 148 Section 2 — Chapter 6 Chapter 6: Consider Your Message What and How Should We Teach these Children?W hen we are teaching these children we should follow Paul’s example as outlined in Acts 20 v27 when he said, “For I havenot shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” This principleshould, of course, always apply no matter which children we are teaching. What Should We Teach Them? This means that over a period of time we will aim to teach them all thetruths of the Gospel as thoroughly and as comprehensively as possible.These truths are outlined and explained in several other books which Ihave written including “Why Evangelize Children?”, “Teaching BibleDoctrines to Children”, and “How to Lead a Child to Christ”. If youdon’t have these books, if you would like to have them and if they wouldbe of help to you, please write to the address given on page 2 of this booktelling us about your ministry and we will send them to you. But in our teaching of these children there are certain truths towhich we need to give more time and a special emphasis. These are truthswhich they do not know at all, or truths which have been wrongly taught, ortruths against which they have been strongly influenced. Consequently, wewill need to spend time answering questions such as: What must these children do to be saved? What does it mean to be justified by faith alone? Are they saved through good works and church going? Are they saved through their baptism? If their parents are believers are they, automatically, believers? Are the Scriptures absolutely true? Who was Jesus Christ? Is evolution true? I will deal with these subjects in the remaining chapters of thebook and endeavour to answer these questions, showing how you cangive clear and simple teaching on these subjects to the children.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 149 How Should We Teach Them? There are at least three possible approaches to follow in our teachingof these children; and we need to decide in our own minds the bestway to help them understand the truths concerned. You could confront the specific error concerned directly. You would, then, specifically refer to it, talk about it, and seek to “tear it down” in the children’s understanding before “building up” the truth. You could present and teach the truth involved positively without any reference at all to the error, trusting that the former will automatically deal with, and cancel out the latter! You could teach the truth involved with, at the same time, wise and brief references to the error concerned but without direct confrontation or attack. Which Is the Best Way? Personally, I favour the third approach. It concentrates on the truthand yet deals, briefly, with the error. It is also less likely to lead toproblems with the parents of the children, and to the possibility ofthem being withdrawn from our meetings. There are times when we need to “knock down” before we “buildup”. While we want to be positive in our teaching, we also need to dealwith subjects which have given children a false sense of security, butwe need to be careful how we “knock down”. We need to do so wisely,gently and lovingly. We should always be clear in our teaching so that the childrenunderstand exactly what we are saying, but we also need to be bothwise and loving. The Lord Jesus was “full of grace and truth” (John 1v14). He was not just full of grace, He was not just full of truth, Hewas full of both and they were wonderfully blended together in Him.He is our example and we need to teach the truth in a gracious andwinsome way. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2 v24 “And a servant of the Lord mustnot quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient . . .” His owntestimony was “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursingmother cherishes her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2 v7).
    • 150 Section 2 — Chapter 7 Chapter 7: Salvation by Faith Alone What Must They Do to be Saved?T his question asked by the Philippian jailer in Acts 16 v30 is the key question as far as evangelism is concerned, and there is onlyone biblical answer. Any other answer is wrong and false and, if taughtand believed, can only lead to eternal loss and separation from God. Paul’s answer, and the answer which is found throughout the Biblewas, “Trust the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16v31). The sinner who trusts Jesus Christ, who puts his faith in Him, iseternally saved. This is the doctrine known as “Justification by Faith.”It has been fully dealt with and explained in the first section of thisbook. This doctrine was the foundational truth of the Reformation and itis a tragedy that so many liberal Protestant churches no longer believeand teach it. Martin Luther said that an understanding of justificationby faith (or the lack of such understanding) is the sign of a living or adying church. John Calvin wrote that this doctrine is the hinge uponwhich all others turn. A student at one of our Training Institutes told me, “The greatestproblem in the churches of our country (which is well known for itsmany reformed and Protestant churches) is that so many of our peopleand pastors do not really understand what it means to be justified byfaith.” What is the Biblical Teaching on Salvation? The Bible teaches that the moment a sinner puts his trust in JesusChrist for salvation he is both justified and regenerated.HE IS JUSTIFIED. Justification is a judicial decision by God, on the basis of the deathof Jesus Christ, to declare a sinner completely forgiven of all his sin,and also completely righteous in His sight. Justification consists of two parts:
    • Saved by Faith Alone 151 The forgiveness of all sin (past, present and future) from the point of view of eternity (Acts 13 v38,39; Romans 8 v33,34; Romans 8 v1). The imputation to the sinner of the righteousness of Christ, so that God now sees him as pure and as righteous as Christ is (Romans 3 v22, Romans 4 v5-8; 2 Corinthians 5 v21). The Bible clearly teaches a number of vital truths concerningjustification, as we have seen in the first section of this book. The cost of justification is the blood of Christ. “Having now been justified by His blood” (Romans 5 v9). The basis of justification is the grace of God. No one deserves it. “Being justified freely by His grace” (Romans 3 v24). The proof of justification is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4 v25). The channel or means of justification is faith alone. “Therefore, having been justified by faith”(Romans 5 v1). The result or evidence of justification is good works and a changed life.. “A man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2 v24). When the doctrine of justification by faith is thoroughly understooda number of conclusions are obvious: Justification happens at one moment. It is a crisis not a process. We cannot grow in justification, nor is any one person more justified than another person. Justification if genuine, and, as evidenced by good works and a change in life, cannot be lost.HE IS REGENERATED. Regeneration is that act of God by which He makes dead sinnersalive and gives them a new nature: The sinner who was spiritually dead receives new life (Ephesians 2 v1, 5: John 3 v16). The sinner who was hostile to God becomes a new person with
    • 152 Section 2 — Chapter 7 a new nature (2 Corinthians 5 v17). It is not a reformation. It is not “a new leaf”. It is not the old naturepatched up and made new. It is actually a new birth, resulting in a newperson with a new nature (James 1 v18; 2 Peter 1 v4; John 3 v3–7).The Bible teaches a number of truths about regeneration. It is the only way for everybody into God’s kingdom. That includes religious people like Nicodemus (John 3 v3–5). It is the only way to receive spiritual life. Man is spiritually dead and he needs life (Ephesians 2 v1). It is the only way to receive a new nature and a change of character. Man has a sinful nature which needs to be changed (Romans 3 v10–18). It is the only way to become a friend of God. Man is hostile to God—and needs a change of heart and direction (Romans 5 v10; Romans 8 v3–8). It is a sovereign act of God the Holy Spirit (John 3 v8; Titus 3 v5; James 1 v18) who enlightens, convicts and then regenerates. It is a mystery (like the wind) and hard to understand (John 3 v8). The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God in regeneration (James 1 v18; 1 Peter 1 v23). The word “water” in John 3 v5 refers, I believe, to the Word of God. This is explained in Ephesians 5 v26. Man is responsible to receive that Word and believe it, and to receive the Lord Jesus Christ into his life (John 1 v12, 13). When the doctrine of regeneration is thoroughly understood severalconclusions are obvious. It takes place at one moment of time (just as physical birth does). However there is usually a process which leads up to it. This involves a growth in understanding and conviction. There will certainly be a process which flows from it. This process is called sanctification. But regeneration itself is a crisis not a process. Many know when their regeneration took place; but there are also many who don’t or who are not sure. However, it is not important to know when it happened. It is important to know
    • Saved by Faith Alone 153 that it has happened. There are no degrees and no growth in regeneration. There are degrees and growth in the process of sanctification which follows—but not in regeneration itself. No one person is more regenerated than any other. True regeneration (as opposed to a profession of faith alone) cannot be lost or withdrawn - but it must show itself in a change of nature. If there is no change there is no regeneration. Justification and regeneration occur at the same time - when thesinner trusts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Justification changeshis position, but not his nature. Regeneration changes his nature, butnot his position. Both are the necessary results of God’s wonderfulsalvation. It is not possible to have one without the other. The personwho says he is justified - but there is no change whatsoever in hisnature - is not justified (James 2 v17, 18, 20, 24, 26). What Is the Teaching of Liberal Protestant Churches on Salvation? There is no one fixed teaching on this subject throughout all ofthese churches. But there are several features which are common tomost of them. The concept of salvation itself is, I believe, flawed and misunderstood, from a biblical point of view. Those concerned do not see mankind as eternally lost without a Saviour. If this need is not understood, the answer to that need will not be at all clear. Acceptance by God is generally believed to be the result of good works. Justification is seen to be a process whereby we become more and more acceptable to God on the basis of what we do. This teaching is, of course, completely contradicted throughout the New Testament. It is especially refuted in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. There is an emphasis on church ceremonies and ordinances, such as baptism and confirmation, as a means of acceptance with God. Formalism and liturgies also play a major part in a number of these churches, and often become a substitute for personal
    • 154 Section 2 — Chapter 7 faith and conversion. They believe generally that if there is a future judgment the results of that judgment will depend upon good works plus participation in church ordinances and ceremonies. These will be balanced against the wrong things which have been done. There will be universal salvation. The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man will ensure that no one will be lost. The Bible Teaching on Good Works It is essential to teach children the importance and value of goodworks, church going and all church ordinances. These should benecessary parts of the life of every child. But the Bible makes it clear that good works are the results ofsalvation and not the cause of it: First of all the Bible teaches that a sinner is not saved by his good works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2 v8, 9). “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Romans 3 v20). But the Bible also teaches that true biblical faith will result in good works: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2 v10). “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3 v8). “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2 v21). As believers in Christ, God has set us apart unto good works; andit is these good works which demonstrate the reality of our salvation.If there are no good works, there is no salvation.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 155 “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2 v17). Let us be careful never to put “the cart before the horse” in ourown living or in our teaching of the children. How Can We Best Teach Justification by Faith to These Children? The subject is dealt with in detail in chapter 14 of the first section onpage 86. But I would like to outline here the four facts which need specialemphasis when teaching the Gospel message to these children: Teach them that they need to be saved. This means that you should teach them concerning sin, and God’s attitude towards sin. This must be done in a wise and loving way. Your responsibility is to help and warn the children, not to frighten them. Teach them that Jesus Christ died to save them. They need to learn that His death is sufficient for their salvation, and that nothing needs to be added to it. Teach them that they need to put their trust in Jesus Christ. You will need to explain firstly what faith in Christ means and involves. You will also need to emphasize that good works, baptism and church attendance do not save. Teach them what will happen when they trust Christ. They will be saved forever. All their sins will be forgiven They will be born again. They will be sure of Heaven when they die.
    • 156 Section 2 — Chapter 8 Chapter 8: Repent and Be Baptised Are They Saved Through Baptism?M any liberal Protestants believe and teach that the baptism of babies brings infants into God’s Kingdom and is therefore ameans of regeneration. Baptismal Regeneration According to this view the baby who is baptised is saved orregenerated. This has always been the teaching of the Roman Catholicchurch. One of its publications reads: “We cannot enter heaven if we have original sin on our souls. On the cross Jesus won for us the gift of baptism. The sacrament of baptism takes away that sin. That is why babies must be baptised as soon as possible . . . Through baptism the baby has now become a child of God and the ugly stain has been washed away. The angels are happy when a child is baptised. Another soul has got its chance to enter heaven.” But the teaching of baptismal regeneration has been adopted in asomewhat modified form by several major Protestant denominations,consisting mainly of liberal Protestant churches. In the catechism of one large Protestant denomination, for example,the following question and answer can be found: “Who gave you this name?” “My godfathers and godmothers in my baptism; wherein I wasmade a member of Christ, a child of God and an inheritor of thekingdom of Heaven.” The form of the baptismal service in the same denominationincludes the following statement after the child is baptised: “Then should the priest say, ‘Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren,that this child is regenerated and grafted into the body of Christ’schurch, let us give thanks unto Almighty God for these benefits; andwith one accord make our prayers unto him that this child may leadthe rest of his life according to this beginning.’”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 157 The Sunday School Association of another large denomination sent abooklet to all their Sunday School teachers which included the followingstatement: “Baptism is a means of grace. It is the means God uses to give us salvation by grace. When we are baptised our sins are forgiven and we are taken into fellowship with God as His children. We become members of the church. God allows a new life to be born in us (Titus 3 v5). Jesus says that in baptism we are born of water and the spirit (John 3 v5).” The booklet also tells Sunday School teachers that the children intheir classes should be taught as full, born again members of the church. One of the lessons published by this association contains thefollowing: “Bit by bit he (Nicodemus) understood what Jesus had said. To be born of water and the Spirit is something which happens when we are baptised. Then we become God’s children. It is the Holy Spirit who comes to us invisibly and makes us God’s children. And the Spirit does this through the water.” This belief, outlined above, is generally known as baptismalregeneration. It is not a biblical teaching and is not acceptable to, orheld by, Christians who believe that salvation is by faith alone in Christalone and who equate the new birth with salvation and not baptism. Itis, or should be, clear that baptism has no saving value and thatbaptismal regeneration is completely unbiblical. And it is also clearthat a belief in this doctrine can cause great harm to the children becauseit gives them a false sense of security concerning their position beforeGod, and denies the need for salvation and personal faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that baptism is a visible SIGN and demonstrationof salvation. The only way of salvation is through repentance and faithin our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what the Bible teaches: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1 v12).
    • 158 Section 2 — Chapter 8 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3 v16). “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3 v36). “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved’” (Romans 10 v13). The Liberal Protestant Viewpoint Concerning Baptism One of the major problems we face when evangelizing childrencomes as the result of the viewpoint on baptism generally believedand taught by most liberal Protestant churches. Within many of thesechurches it is believed that the child who has been baptized is alreadyregenerated, although at a later date he will need to “confirm” this,and a second ceremony of confirmation usually takes place at thattime. This belief is a problem for several reasons: It gives, as we have seen, the children who have been baptised a false sense of security. They feel that they are already Christians because they have been baptised. Therefore they do not need to be saved. It eliminates completely the evangelism of these children. Why should they be evangelized, when they are already Christians? Some Bible Verses Used to Support This Viewpoint There are several Bible verses which may seem at first glance toteach baptism as a means of salvation. But we will see that they don’tdo so. But before we look at these verses it is essential to remember afundamental principle of biblical interpretation. To understand a Bibledoctrine we need to study the whole Bible and look for the generalteaching of the Scriptures on that doctrine. We should not base ourunderstanding on one, two, or even several, isolated Bible texts—especially when they can be interpreted in different ways. After we
    • Saved by Faith Alone 159find the general Bible teaching on a subject we may see Bible verseswhich seem to teach the opposite, but they cannot do so. There mustbe some other explanation, since the Bible cannot contradict itself. The clear teaching of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, isthat a sinner is saved, justified, forgiven, and received by God on thebasis of personal faith alone. (Acts 13 v39; Romans 5 v1; Galatians 3v6; Galatians 3 v24; Philippians 3 v9). If there is a Bible verse which seems to say something else, thenthere must be another explanation of that verse. However, it is good to look at and examine some Bible verseswhich might seem at first glance to teach baptism as an essential partof, and condition for, salvation. “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3 v5). There is no indication whatsoever in the context that the word “water” used here refers to baptism. There are several possible interpretations. But the word “water” is almost certainly a symbolic reference to the Word of God. This can be seen in a careful study of the following verses—Ephesians 5 v26; John 15 v3; 1 Peter 1 v22,23; Titus 3 v5. Or, some believe, it might refer to the initial cleansing from sin which takes place at the moment of regeneration (Psalm 119 v9). Personally I believe the former of these two interpretations. The Bible teaches us that in every new birth there are two “agents”: The Holy Spirit Who gives new life. The Word of God which He uses to give the new life. This is made clear in James 1 v18: “Of His own will He brought us forth (or gave us birth) by the Word of truth.” Therefore it seems clear to me that the Lord Jesus is referring in John 3 v5 to the Word of God and the part it plays in the new birth. There is certainly no possible reference to baptism in this verse. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2 v38).
    • 160 Section 2 — Chapter 8 The word ”for” could be translated “in view of” or “with regard to” or “because of.” This verse could then read “baptised in the name of Jesus Christ because of the remission of sins.” This means that the person who repents has his sins forgiven (read Luke 24 v47). He then, as an act of witness, confession or testimony, is baptised. Remission is the result of repentance, not of baptism. In the Acts of Apostles it was the obvious and natural thing for a believer to demonstrate, as soon as possible, his repentance and faith by his baptism. “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22 v16). Whatever this means, it cannot mean or refer to Saul’s conversion, since he was, at this time, already saved (verse 10). It would, again, seem therefore to be an outward or visible sign and symbolic act of witness and testimony to the fact that his sins had already been washed away. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12 v13). This verse is obviously a definite reference to the baptism of the Spirit and not water baptism. It refers back to that moment when all the believers at Corinth had trusted Christ and had become part of His Body. Paul is presenting this great truth here to show the unity of all believers. Romans 6 v3 and Galatians 3 v27 are probably referring to the baptism of the Spirit because they seem to refer back to the time when all the believers trusted Christ as their Lord and Saviour and were baptised by the Holy Spirit into His Body. This was, and still is, the experience common to all believers. It is clear and definite that none of these verses could possibly teach regeneration by water baptism. “There is also an antitype which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” (1 Peter 3 v21 and 22).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 161 These verses are difficult to understand and there are several possible interpretations of them. But there are several clear deductions concerning salvation which can be made from these verses and the context: Salvation is possible because of Jesus Christ and what He has done and is doing. He is the “anti type” of Noah’s ark. Salvation, to complete the “anti type”, is received by doing what God tells us to do. They obeyed by entering the ark. We obey by trusting Christ. That is clear biblical teaching. Salvation is demonstrated by baptism but the emphasis is not upon the external use of water (“not the removal of the filth of the flesh”) but upon the internal change in the sinner (“but the answer of a good conscience towards God”). What happens internally is more important than what happens externally. There is no way that these verses could be seen as teaching baptismal regeneration. So we can be clear that none of the verses outlined on the previous pages teach, prove or even indicate that baptism saves or regenerates. While it may not be possible to give a clear dogmatic answer to what several of them do teach, we can clearly and dogmatically say that they don’t teach baptismal regeneration. All of them can be satisfactorily explained in another way. The Bible Teaching on BaptismWhat does the Bible teach, therefore, on the subject of baptism? The Lord Jesus commanded His Church to observe two ordinances: The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. The ordinance of baptism. The meaning of baptism Baptism is a sign or symbol Some evangelicals in several major reformed denominations (which have not been affected or influenced by liberal Protestantism) see baptism as a sign or symbol of what they trust and pray will happen in the life of an infant; and so that infant is baptised in the hope that one
    • 162 Section 2 — Chapter 8 day he will trust Christ and be saved. In other words the sign or symbol of baptism looks forward to what, they trust, will happen in the future. These evangelicals do not believe in baptismal regeneration. They do not believe that the infant becomes a child of God, is justified or is born again through baptism—although they do believe that baptism is a sign to show that the infant becomes a member of the visible church (but not the invisible church which is the body of Christ). Some evangelicals in a number of Baptistic denominations see baptism as a sign or symbol of what has happened in the life of a believer. A person trusts Jesus Christ as his Saviour, and as a visible sign or symbol of his salvation he is, at a later date, baptised. This is then a testimony to his faith and a way to show others that he is now a believer. To both groups of evangelicals baptism is a sign and only a sign. To one group it points forward; to the other it points backward. Neither group believes in baptismal regeneration. The method of baptism Those evangelicals who believe in the baptism of the infant children of believing parents usually baptise by sprinkling water on the infant. Those evangelicals who believe in the baptism of believers usually baptise them by immersion in the water because they feel this symbolizes more clearly the fact that the believer has died, has been buried, and has risen again, with Jesus Christ. The subjects of baptism Those evangelicals in the first group baptise the infant child of believers and also adults who have come to Christ from “heathen darkness”. They feel that baptism in the New Testament is a continuation of circumcision in the Old Testament. Those evangelicals in the second group only baptise those who are believers, and can give a clear testimony to their
    • Saved by Faith Alone 163 faith in Christ. This should also include children who have trusted Christ and are saved. Both the viewpoints outlined under the three previous headingsare held and practised by sincere believing Christians and both groupsfeel they are correct in their belief. But it should be emphasized thatneither group believes that an infant, or indeed anyone, can be saved,or regenerated, through baptism. Child Evangelism Fellowship is an interdenominationalorganisation and as such does not teach or include in its teaching whenbaptism should be administered and to whom. There are those amongthe ranks of CEF workers who believe the first of each of the viewpointsoutlined above and there are also those who believe the second ofeach. But neither group teaches or promotes their viewpoint whileengaged in their CEF ministries. Personally, I adhere to the second viewpoint in each of the abovepoints because I feel it is more biblical; but I work with and have closefellowship with, those who have the first viewpoint. We just agree todiffer! However, all CEF workers are agreed that baptism has no savingvalue, and that baptismal regeneration is completely unbiblical. I trustthat this is your viewpoint also. We all see baptism only as a sign and demonstration: Some see the baptism of infants as a sign that they are being received into the visible church, and that the parents are looking forward to their future salvation. Some see the baptism of believers as a sign and public confession of their faith in Jesus Christ and their identification with Him. But in both cases baptism is only a sign. The only way of salvationis through repentance and personal faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Thisis what the Bible teaches (John 1 v12; John 3 v16; John 3 v56; Acts 16v31; Romans 10 v13 etc., etc). Two facts should also be pointed out which can be seen in theBible and in experience: – There have been people saved who were not baptised. – There have been people baptised who were not saved. Therefore salvation and baptism cannot be synonymous.
    • 164 Section 2 — Chapter 8 Our Responsibility as Teachers It is important to remember three important facts: We ourselves as teachers need to understand the teaching of the Bible on the subjects of salvation and baptism. It is clearly and dogmatically taught everywhere that salvation is by faith alone plus nothing else. We need to be clear that baptism does not and cannot save. Children with a liberal Protestant background often feel consciously or unconsciously that they are Christians and do not need to be saved because they have been baptized. When teaching them, you do not need to refer to the verses mentioned above. I have included these, and their explanations for your benefit, and to help you. There are two truths to underline when you are teaching these children—one positive and one negative: Salvation is by faith alone. Illustrate this by verses and stories from the Bible. (See chapter 14 in the first section of this book) For older children you might want to point out that the founders and early leaders of all the main Protestant denominations also believed this. Baptism does not, and therefore cannot, save or even help in salvation – and this also applies to all church ordinances and ceremonies. You can again use Bible illustrations such as the repentant thief who was crucified beside Jesus Christ. He went to paradise because he trusted in Jesus Christ. In his case he could not have been baptised. (Luke 23 v43).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 165 Chapter 9: The Family of God Is God the Father of Everyone?O ne of the key tenets of liberal Protestantism is the universal Fatherhood of God, and the teaching that God is the Father ofeveryone, and that, as a result, everyone is a child of God. The Bible Teaching on the Fatherhood of God We need to be clear that this concept—that all men are children ofGod—is not found anywhere in the Bible: The Old Testament shows God as the Father, not of all men, but of His own people the seed of Abraham: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go . . .” (Exodus 4 v22, 23). The New Testament teaches us that God is the Father, not of all men, but only of those who, knowing themselves to be sinners, put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3 v26). “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1 v12, 13). Sonship to God is not therefore a universal status into whicheveryone enters by natural birth but a supernatural gift which onereceives at his new birth. The biblical and theological term used forthis is adoption. When a sinner trusts Jesus Christ as his Saviour he isadopted into the family of God and God becomes his Father. Salvation Results in Adoption One of the great blessings of salvation is that, at the moment ofputting one’s faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the believer is immediatelyadopted into the family of God—on the basis of the redeeming workof Jesus Christ on the cross.
    • 166 Section 2 — Chapter 9 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4 v4, 5). Every Christian, therefore, can truly say “I am a child of God; Godis my Father; Heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer; mySaviour is my Brother; and every Christian is my brother too.” Someone might question what I have written so far and say, “DidPaul not say in Acts 17 v28 and 29: “For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring. Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.” Yes he did. But when Paul speaks of mankind as “the offspring ofGod” in this verse he is referring to the fact that God is the Creator ofall men and of all things, and in that sense and that sense only, is Hethe Father of all. Everyone is created by Him, and receives their lifefrom Him. This makes all men responsible to Him. Paul is not sayingin these verses that all people are the spiritual children of God. Insteadhe is affirming that God is the Father of all men in a “natural” sensebecause man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1 v26). So in the New Testament and apart from God’s act of creation theterm Fatherhood of God is limited firstly to the special Father—Sonrelationship which existed between God the Father and His Son, JesusChrist, and also, secondly, the relationship between God the Fatherand those who have trusted Jesus Christ. Only these are His childrenand can call Him Father. The Need for Adoption The Bible teaches that we, each one of us, are, by nature, childrenof wrath and not children of God “Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Ephesians 2 v3).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 167 By nature we were alienated from God, and none of us possesses,by nature, the standing or characteristics of a child of God. That is whythe Gospel is so necessary for us. We are, by nature, all prodigals who are“lost” and “dead” (Luke 15 v31). We need to become children of God.There can be no more serious delusion for anyone to suffer from than thatwe are naturally the children of God. That is why this tenet of liberal Protestant teaching is so dangerousand so harmful to the children. They are taught that God is alreadytheir Father, and they are instructed to pray “Our Father Who art inHeaven” without being taught that God is only the Father of those whoare believers. They do not realise that by nature God is not their Father,and that He will only become so when they trust Jesus Christ as theirLord and Saviour. The Children Need to Hear Consequently, we need to make the Bible teaching on this subjectclear to these boys and girls. We need to teach them the followingbiblical truths: They have been created by God and they are responsible to Him. They are, by nature, the children of wrath. Therefore God is not their Father. If they trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour, God will become their Father at that very moment. They will then experience, for the rest of their lives, the results, the blessings and the consequences of God being their Father. The Blessings of Adoption There are a number of great blessings which the child receiveswhen he trusts Christ and God becomes his Father. Now that God is his Father he can: Come to Him (Matthew 7 v7-11). Talk to Him (Matthew 6 v9). Listen to Him (Ephesians 1 v17, 18). Trust Him (Matthew 6 v26, 32). Now that God is his Father, He will: Listen to him (1 John 5 v14, 15).
    • 168 Section 2 — Chapter 9 Care for him (Luke 12 v27-32). Chasten him if necessary (Hebrews 12 v5-11). Supply all his need (Matthew 6 v8). Now that God is his Father he has: The family name (1 John 3 v1). The family likeness (Matthew 5 v44-48; Romans 8 v29). Many brothers and sisters (1 John 1 v3; 3 v14). Family love (1 John 17 v24-26). What a tremendous truth to teach these children. We must notneglect it.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 169 Chapter 10: The Legacy of Christian Parents If Their Parents are Believers, Are They Automatically Believers?I lthough this subject has already been dealt with, in a more general fashion, in chapter 4, we need to come back to it again and dealwith it more specifically. Salvation through Birth/Baptism? The emphasis in liberal Protestantism, and indeed in someevangelical churches, is upon the family unit rather than on theindividual child. The family is, of course, very important in the planand purposes of God, but the Bible continually underlines the fact thateach individual is responsible before God for himself, for his decisionsand for his salvation. There are many liberal Protestants, and even some evangelicals,who believe and teach that the children of believers are born intoGod’s kingdom, and they believe that this is demonstrated visibly bythe baptism of the children concerned. This baptism is then followedup by an act of confirmation by the child when he becomes a teenager,around the age of twelve, thirteen and fourteen. This confirmation isusually very formal and ceremonial in its nature and does not generallydemand or include any heart response to Jesus Christ. Both infant baptism and confirmation were practised in the liberalProtestant church in which I grew up. I was baptised as an infant with,I understand, the pronouncement from the minister that I was bornagain and in the kingdom of Heaven. When I was fourteen I wasconfirmed in the same church without any evangelical challenge orany reference to a need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Itwas purely ceremonial formalism. Those evangelicals who believe that the children of believers areborn into God’s kingdom also believe that they will only stay in thatkingdom until they are old enough (at perhaps the age of 12 or 14) todecide whether to remain in it or leave it! They believe that if the
    • 170 Section 2 — Chapter 10children make the latter decision they will need to trust Christ and beconverted. If they decide to stay they do not need to be converted! Both the above groups use two verses especially to support theirviews—Mark 10 v14b and 1 Corinthians 7 v14. An Examination of Mark 10 v14b Mark 10 v14b reads, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for ofsuch is the kingdom of God.” We need to remember that there are three rules to follow whenseeking to understand a Bible verse: Read the verse carefully. Read the verse in its context. Read the verse in relation to the overall teaching of Scripture. Let us follow these rules with regard to this verse. Read it carefully to determine its clear and obvious meaning. This is not always easy. The problem, for example, with the above verse are the words “of such.” Does it mean that the kingdom of heaven consists of children, or does it mean that the kingdom of heaven consists of those who are like children? Scholars are divided about the exact meaning of this word but most would favour the latter interpretation. It is clear to me personally that these words mean that the kingdom of Heaven consists of those who are like children. The New International Version translates it as follows “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Also, looking at this verse from a logical point of view, it would surely be incorrect to say that the kingdom of heaven consists of children! Do adults and young people not enter the kingdom of heaven? Read the verse in its context. Verse 15 explains verse 14 very clearly, and is obviously intended to do so. “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as (or like) a little child, he shall not enter therein.” This clearly means that the kingdom of heaven consists of those who become as children and clearly explains the previous verse. The same teaching can be found in Matthew 18 v3. This is easy
    • Saved by Faith Alone 171 to understand as everyone who enters the kingdom of heaven needs to become like a child in humility, trustfulness and dependence. Children, of course, can also enter the kingdom of heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. Read the verse in relation to the overall teaching of Scripture. It is nowhere taught in the Bible that children, whether they are the children of believers or not, are automatically in the kingdom of heaven. Surely if this were true the Bible would make it very clear, as it would be a vital fact for all of us to know. We should therefore emphasize that there is absolutely nojustification for linking this verse (when properly understood) to thebaptism of infants; and thereby to imply or teach that infants areregenerated through baptism. There is no link whatsoever betweenthis verse and the baptism of infants. An Examination of 1 Corinthians 7 v14 The second verse used by the proponents of this teaching is 1Corinthians 7 v14 “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified bythe wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband;otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” We will look at this verse in the same way as we did the previousverse. Its meaning. The original meaning of the word “sanctified” is “set apart”. While usually applied to people (e.g. John 17 v19) it is also used with relation to things (e.g. 1 Timothy 4 v5). But its general meaning in Scripture is “holy”—especially when used with regard to people. This word is used three times in this verse—in one form or another. It has been translated “sanctified” the first two times it occurs and then it is translated as “holy” in reference to the children. However, this third word is the same in the original language as the other two, but only in adjective form. The children referred to in this verse are described by the same word, and are therefore in the same situation, as the unbelieving husband and the unbelieving wife. If it is true that the children
    • 172 Section 2 — Chapter 10 are saved because of their believing parent(s) then it must be equally true that the unbelieving husband is saved because of his believing wife. This could not possibly be so. Its context. The church in Corinth had written to Paul with a number of questions. One of these concerned married couples, if one member of the couple had trusted Christ. Should the saved man leave his unbelieving wife? Should the saved woman leave her unbelieving husband? They may have concluded from reading parts of the Old Testament that they should separate themselves from their partners and leave. But Paul forbids them to do so. He says that the unbelieving husband is sanctified (set apart) by the believing wife. He is different from other husbands because he has a wife, in his home, who is praying for him, witnessing to him, and demonstrating the Christian life before him. If she leaves him, he will lose all these privileges. He is a privileged husband but not (yet) a saved husband. The same applies to the children concerned. They are different from other children. This is not because they are saved; but because of the privilege they enjoy in having a parent who is a believer. If that parent leaves the family and home they will no longer be privileged. They will then be like other children. They will then be “unclean”, in the sense of being outside the realm of privilege and the realm of possible blessing. The use of the word “unclean” would in this case be similar to its use in Acts 11 v8 where it refers to legality and position rather than sinfulness and uncleanness. These privileged children have therefore a better possibility to trust Christ than the children of unbelievers. That is why Paul tells the believers not to leave them or they will become like these other children. The general teaching of Scripture. If it were true that the children of believers, or of one believer, entered automatically, on the basis of that relationship, into the experience of salvation, the Bible would make this clear and would teach it frequently. But this is not so.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 173 ConclusionWe can come to three conclusions on this subject. It is completely unbiblical for liberal Protestants to believe and teach that their children are automatically born into God’s kingdom through birth or baptism. It is equally unbiblical for some evangelicals to believe that their own children are automatically in the kingdom of God. The Bible teaches that the children in a Christian home, who have one or two believing parents, are in a very special and privileged situation which is not enjoyed by other children. They are different, they are set apart, they are “sanctified,” but they are not saved. We have seen over and over again that a person, whether he be young or old, is justified by faith alone. The Bible teaches that all children born into this world are born spiritually dead and outside God’s kingdom; and the only way into God’s kingdom is through faith in Jesus Christ and through the new birth (John 3 v3–5). They are not born into this kingdom nor can they be baptised into it (John 1 v12, 13). When we have opportunity we need to point out to these children, as we do to all other children, that they can only be saved through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: They are not Christians because their parents are. They are not Christians because they have been baptised. Salvation is received only on the basis of their own decision to trust Jesus Christ.
    • 174 Section 2 — Chapter 11 Chapter 11: The Truth of God Is the Bible Really the Inspired Word of God?T his is a most important question and the answer to it really helps to determine the answers to all other questions. What Do Liberal Protestants Believe/Teach? If we don’t believe the Bible to be absolutely and completely true andif we don’t believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture, the basis andfoundation of what we believe and teach is completely destroyed. If theabsolute authority of the Bible is not recognized, and if reason takes theplace of, or is used to supplement, revelation, the result will be the substitutionof man’s ideas for God’s truth. This leads to all kinds of confusion. I know from my experience in a liberal church what happens whenthe pastor does not believe in the inspiration of Scripture. My pastoractually said from the pulpit that the early chapters of the Bible werenot historically true or factual, but that they were instead a series ofallegories and parables from which truth could be deducted. He believedthat there were also other parts of the Bible which could not be acceptedas true. We were therefore taught in our church that the Bible was notthe actual inspired Word of God. The consequence was that we didn’tknow what to believe and what not to believe. We therefore tended toignore completely the Bible and its teachings. Why should we studyand follow the teachings of a book which we saw to be flawed? I remember, also, going to the chaplain in the university where Iwas a student with questions about the Bible. He was also a minister orpastor in the liberal Protestant denomination to which my churchbelonged. He “assured” me that all of the Bible was not historicallytrue and that there were mistakes in it. What Do We Believe/Teach? We believe that the Bible is the written revelation of God, consistingof 66 books in two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament;and containing everything we need to know, believe and do, so thatour souls might be saved and God both glorified and served.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 175 We believe that the Bible is verbally inspired. Inspiration is the processby which God influenced, guided and assisted the writers of the Scripturesso that they were able to record what He had revealed to them withouterror or mistake. These men wrote with their own style and personality.But they were so guided by the Holy Spirit that there is no error whatsoeverin any word of the original writings. And reverent biblical scholarship hasensured that the Bible we possess is as close to the original inerrant writingsas it is possible to come. Consequently, the Bible is without mistake or contradiction in allthat it teaches; and can be completely relied upon. The Lord Jesussaid, “Thy Word is truth” (John 17 v17). Inspiration is complete. Nothing can be added, nor should be addedto the Scriptures. All the revelation and truth we need is contained inits 66 books. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, (or is God breathed) and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3 vl6). “For the prophecy (of the Scripture) came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1 v21). The Reasons for Our Belief How do we know that the Scriptures are verbally inspired and arecompletely true? They claim to be the Word of God: Old Testament claims about itself include Exodus 20 v1; Hosea 1 v1. New Testament claims about the Old Testament include Acts 1 v16; Acts 28 v25 and 1 Peter 1 v10,11. New Testament claims about itself include 1 Corinthians 2 v13; 14 v37; Galatians 1 v11,12; 1 Thessalonians 2 v13; 2 Peter 3 v1,2. The Old Testament uses, over and over again, expressions such as “God said” and “The Lord spoke.” These back up the claims to inspiration. Such expressions can be found about 250 times.
    • 176 Section 2 — Chapter 11 Either these claims are true or false. If the latter, the Bible is a bookcontaining lies, and/or false claims, and cannot be depended upon foranything. It is either the Word of God (as it claims to be); or it is not a goodbook. Many prophecies in the Bible have been exactly fulfilled manyyears after they were recorded. Only God can know the future and only God is able to record whatwill happen. Children, and especially teenagers, find this especiallyinteresting and helpful. It is of special value and interest to read all the prophecies in theOld Testament concerning the birth, life, death, resurrection andascension of Jesus Christ and to see how every one has been fulfilledexactly e.g. Isaiah 7 v14; 9 v6; Micah 5 v2; Zechariah 9 v9; Zechariah11 v12,13. Christ repeatedly used and testified to the Old Testament asthe Word of God. He obviously regarded it as the Word of God - and so should wee.g. Matthew 5 v17, 18;12 v39,40; Matthew 24 v37-39; Mark 12 v36;Luke 24 v25-27, 44, 46; John 3 v14. This is a very important evidenceof the inspiration of Scripture, and should be continually emphasized. The Word of God has a wonderful harmony and unity. This is quite remarkable when we realise that it was written byapproximately 40 men from different backgrounds and differentcountries over a period of 1600 years. The Bible has shown its power to change lives, homes,communities and even nations. No other book in the world has changed lives, as the Bible has, and“turned sinners into saints.” No other book has had such an influenceon millions of homes, many communities and even in a number ofnations. The witness we have in our hearts, from the Holy Spirit. This witness gives us assurance that it is truly the Word of God (1Thessalonians 1 v5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 2 v13; 1 John 2 v20, 27). How Do We Teach This Truth? It is therefore obvious that when we are teaching children with aliberal Protestant background we need to give frequent and continued
    • Saved by Faith Alone 177emphasis to the fact that the Bible is the Word of God and absolutely true. We can teach this truth in a number of ways: We could use Bible verses to state this truth. These would include verses such as 2 Timothy 3 vl6; 2 Peter 1 v20, 21. We could teach Bible stories and lessons which help explain this truth e.g. Luke 24 v13–48; Acts 8 v26-40. We could give a clear and logical presentation (on the basis of the outline given above) especially to older children and teenagers, outlining why we believe the Bible to be the Word of God. It claims to be. Fulfilled prophecies show it to be. The fact that Jesus Christ believed it to be. Its unity and harmony over 1600 years. The change it has made in many lives includes your own. The witness you have in your own heart. Having established the biblical foundation of the doctrine in any one of those ways it is good to add a personal word of testimony—and include the testimonies of others. Conclusion This doctrine is, in many ways, THE basic doctrine. All otherdoctrines are based upon the vital truth that the Bible is God’s Wordand therefore absolutely true. The source of all our doctrines is theBible. Therefore if we are not sure about the verbal inspiration ofScripture we cannot be sure of anything. I trust that you, my dear reader, are convinced that the Bible isGod’s Word and therefore absolutely true. This does not mean thatyou understand, or can explain, everything in the Bible. There are versesand even passages which are very difficult to understand. But we believethem, even if we don’t understand them. It is wonderful to be firmly established upon the inspired Word ofGod. Others will criticise you or even laugh at you because you believeall the Bible to be true, and many will see you as very “old fashioned.”But don’t worry about that. God will bless you as you believe, honour,teach and stand up for, His Word. Also it might even be that, while suchpeople criticise you or make fun of you, they have in their hearts a respect
    • 178 Section 2 — Chapter 11for you because you know what you believe, and are willing to take astand on it. Above all, I trust that you will take every opportunity you can toshare this great truth with the children who have a liberal Protestantbackground. For many of them it will be the first time they have heardit; and it could be your privilege to be the one to open this gate of truthfor them.
    • 174 Section 2 — Chapter 11 Chapter 11: The Truth of God Is the Bible Really the Inspired Word of God?T his is a most important question and the answer to it really helps to determine the answers to all other questions. What Do Liberal Protestants Believe/Teach? If we don’t believe the Bible to be absolutely and completely true andif we don’t believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture, the basis andfoundation of what we believe and teach is completely destroyed. If theabsolute authority of the Bible is not recognized, and if reason takes theplace of, or is used to supplement, revelation, the result will be the substitutionof man’s ideas for God’s truth. This leads to all kinds of confusion. I know from my experience in a liberal church what happens whenthe pastor does not believe in the inspiration of Scripture. My pastoractually said from the pulpit that the early chapters of the Bible werenot historically true or factual, but that they were instead a series ofallegories and parables from which truth could be deducted. He believedthat there were also other parts of the Bible which could not be acceptedas true. We were therefore taught in our church that the Bible was notthe actual inspired Word of God. The consequence was that we didn’tknow what to believe and what not to believe. We therefore tended toignore completely the Bible and its teachings. Why should we studyand follow the teachings of a book which we saw to be flawed? I remember, also, going to the chaplain in the university where Iwas a student with questions about the Bible. He was also a minister orpastor in the liberal Protestant denomination to which my churchbelonged. He “assured” me that all of the Bible was not historicallytrue and that there were mistakes in it. What Do We Believe/Teach? We believe that the Bible is the written revelation of God, consistingof 66 books in two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament;and containing everything we need to know, believe and do, so thatour souls might be saved and God both glorified and served.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 175 We believe that the Bible is verbally inspired. Inspiration is the processby which God influenced, guided and assisted the writers of the Scripturesso that they were able to record what He had revealed to them withouterror or mistake. These men wrote with their own style and personality.But they were so guided by the Holy Spirit that there is no error whatsoeverin any word of the original writings. And reverent biblical scholarship hasensured that the Bible we possess is as close to the original inerrant writingsas it is possible to come. Consequently, the Bible is without mistake or contradiction in allthat it teaches; and can be completely relied upon. The Lord Jesussaid, “Thy Word is truth” (John 17 v17). Inspiration is complete. Nothing can be added, nor should be addedto the Scriptures. All the revelation and truth we need is contained inits 66 books. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, (or is God breathed) and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3 vl6). “For the prophecy (of the Scripture) came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1 v21). The Reasons for Our Belief How do we know that the Scriptures are verbally inspired and arecompletely true? They claim to be the Word of God: Old Testament claims about itself include Exodus 20 v1; Hosea 1 v1. New Testament claims about the Old Testament include Acts 1 v16; Acts 28 v25 and 1 Peter 1 v10,11. New Testament claims about itself include 1 Corinthians 2 v13; 14 v37; Galatians 1 v11,12; 1 Thessalonians 2 v13; 2 Peter 3 v1,2. The Old Testament uses, over and over again, expressions such as “God said” and “The Lord spoke.” These back up the claims to inspiration. Such expressions can be found about 250 times.
    • 176 Section 2 — Chapter 11 Either these claims are true or false. If the latter, the Bible is a bookcontaining lies, and/or false claims, and cannot be depended upon foranything. It is either the Word of God (as it claims to be); or it is not a goodbook. Many prophecies in the Bible have been exactly fulfilled manyyears after they were recorded. Only God can know the future and only God is able to record whatwill happen. Children, and especially teenagers, find this especiallyinteresting and helpful. It is of special value and interest to read all the prophecies in theOld Testament concerning the birth, life, death, resurrection andascension of Jesus Christ and to see how every one has been fulfilledexactly e.g. Isaiah 7 v14; 9 v6; Micah 5 v2; Zechariah 9 v9; Zechariah11 v12,13. Christ repeatedly used and testified to the Old Testament asthe Word of God. He obviously regarded it as the Word of God - and so should wee.g. Matthew 5 v17, 18;12 v39,40; Matthew 24 v37-39; Mark 12 v36;Luke 24 v25-27, 44, 46; John 3 v14. This is a very important evidenceof the inspiration of Scripture, and should be continually emphasized. The Word of God has a wonderful harmony and unity. This is quite remarkable when we realise that it was written byapproximately 40 men from different backgrounds and differentcountries over a period of 1600 years. The Bible has shown its power to change lives, homes,communities and even nations. No other book in the world has changed lives, as the Bible has, and“turned sinners into saints.” No other book has had such an influenceon millions of homes, many communities and even in a number ofnations. The witness we have in our hearts, from the Holy Spirit. This witness gives us assurance that it is truly the Word of God (1Thessalonians 1 v5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 2 v13; 1 John 2 v20, 27). How Do We Teach This Truth? It is therefore obvious that when we are teaching children with aliberal Protestant background we need to give frequent and continued
    • Saved by Faith Alone 177emphasis to the fact that the Bible is the Word of God and absolutely true. We can teach this truth in a number of ways: We could use Bible verses to state this truth. These would include verses such as 2 Timothy 3 vl6; 2 Peter 1 v20, 21. We could teach Bible stories and lessons which help explain this truth e.g. Luke 24 v13–48; Acts 8 v26-40. We could give a clear and logical presentation (on the basis of the outline given above) especially to older children and teenagers, outlining why we believe the Bible to be the Word of God. It claims to be. Fulfilled prophecies show it to be. The fact that Jesus Christ believed it to be. Its unity and harmony over 1600 years. The change it has made in many lives includes your own. The witness you have in your own heart. Having established the biblical foundation of the doctrine in any one of those ways it is good to add a personal word of testimony—and include the testimonies of others. Conclusion This doctrine is, in many ways, THE basic doctrine. All otherdoctrines are based upon the vital truth that the Bible is God’s Wordand therefore absolutely true. The source of all our doctrines is theBible. Therefore if we are not sure about the verbal inspiration ofScripture we cannot be sure of anything. I trust that you, my dear reader, are convinced that the Bible isGod’s Word and therefore absolutely true. This does not mean thatyou understand, or can explain, everything in the Bible. There are versesand even passages which are very difficult to understand. But we believethem, even if we don’t understand them. It is wonderful to be firmly established upon the inspired Word ofGod. Others will criticise you or even laugh at you because you believeall the Bible to be true, and many will see you as very “old fashioned.”But don’t worry about that. God will bless you as you believe, honour,teach and stand up for, His Word. Also it might even be that, while suchpeople criticise you or make fun of you, they have in their hearts a respect
    • 178 Section 2 — Chapter 11for you because you know what you believe, and are willing to take astand on it. Above all, I trust that you will take every opportunity you can toshare this great truth with the children who have a liberal Protestantbackground. For many of them it will be the first time they have heardit; and it could be your privilege to be the one to open this gate of truthfor them.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 179 Chapter 12: The Person of Christ Was Jesus Christ Truly and Completely God?T his question is closely related to the question answered in the previous chapter. The clear teaching of the Bible is that JesusChrist is God. But if a person does not believe in the inspiration andcomplete trustworthiness of the Bible he is likely also to have doubtsconcerning the Deity of Jesus Christ. In many ways this doctrine is the central truth of Christianity. It isthe truth which every cult denies. What Do Liberal Protestants Believe/Teach? The problem with the cults and with the liberal Protestants is oneof authority. Is there an authority to which and to whom we are allresponsible? Is that authority infallible? Who or what is that authority?We believe that God is our authority and that authority is expressed inHis infallible written Word and through His infallible Son, the LivingWord, Jesus Christ. However, liberal theologians do not recognise the absolute authorityeither of the Bible or of the words of Jesus Christ as contained in theBible. This teaching is passed onto the children who are under theirinfluence. These theologians and teachers place man, his mind, hislogic and his reason as the final arbiter concerning what is true andwhat is not true. There are no absolutes. “Truth” can vary from personto person and especially from time to time. Liberal Protestants would usually say that they do not deny theBible nor the importance of Jesus Christ. To them the Bible is a verygood book, the best book ever written. And Jesus Christ was a veryspecial person, He was the best man who ever lived. But in actual factthese qualifications, sincere though they might be, are sufficient tonullify the absolute authority of both the Bible and the Son of God. If the Bible claims to be the authoritative Word of God and it isnot, then it is not a good book. It is then a book which contains lies andexaggerations. Therefore I could not put my trust in it.
    • 180 Section 2 — Chapter 12 If Jesus Christ is truly God’s Son as He claimed to be then He andHis words can be fully trusted. If His claim was not true then He wasa fool at best, or at the worst a mad man or a liar, and there is no wayI could trust Him or anything He said. One of the passages often referred to by liberal theologians to“prove” that Jesus Christ was not completely God when He was hereon earth is Philippians 2 v6-8. Verse 7 speaks of Him making Himselfof no reputation, or that He emptied Himself. The liberal theologianbelieves this to mean that He emptied Himself of His divinity. However,there is nothing in this passage to indicate this, and certainly the generalteaching of Scripture shows that He did not empty Himself of Hisdivinity. He was still truly and completely God during the 33 years Helived on this earth. He emptied Himself of His glory, His wealth, andHis position at His Father’s side in Heaven. But no more. What Do We Believe? Jesus Christ was, and is, truly and absolutely God. When He becamea man He did not sacrifice, or leave behind, His Deity. As perfect manHe could be the substitute in His death for one person; but only as Godcould He be the substitute for many, many people. We know that He is God because of:-His claims He said He was (John 5 v17,18; John 8 v58, 59; John 10 v30, 31) He accepted others’ affirmations of His Deity (John 20 v28, 29) He accepted worship (Matthew 14 v33; Luke 24 v52) He forgave sin (Mark 2 v5-10; Luke 7 v48-50)His miracles Their main purpose was to be signs that would back up and supportHis claims and prove that these claims were true (John 20 v30,31). Agood example of this can be found in Matthew 8 v23-27.His sinless life to which many gave testimony His friends witnessed to this He did no sin (1 Peter 2 v22) He knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5 v21) In Him was no sin (1 John 3 v5)
    • Saved by Faith Alone 181 His enemies witnessed to this—especially just before His Crucifixion (Matthew 27 v4; Matthew 27 v19; Matthew 27 v24; Matthew 27 v54). God the Father witnessed to this (Matthew 17 v5).His resurrection This was God the Father’s final witness and Amen to the claims of His Son (Romans 1 v4). It was also the final sign given by Jesus Christ to the scribes and Pharisees concerning who He was (Matthew 12 v38–40).Our own personal experience and assurance We know He is God because of all He has done personally for us and in us. And the Holy Spirit witnesses to our hearts that Jesus Christ is truly and completely divine. How Do We Teach This Truth? The doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ is a key doctrine and wemust teach it thoroughly and regularly to these children. How can we show them and teach them that Jesus Christ is God? By using verses which show this clearly (e.g. John 1 v1; John 8 v58). These can be taught as memory verses, or referred to in our lessons. By teaching stories and lessons which have the deity of Jesus Christ as their main theme and central truth. There are many such stories in the four Gospels. The main purpose of the miracles Jesus Christ performed was to demonstrate that He was who He said He was - the Son of God and God the Son. Consequently, stories about His miracles give good opportunities to emphasize His deity. You could, for example, teach this truth when dealing with the stilling of the storm in Mark 4 v35-41, or with the healing of the palsied man in Luke 5 v18-26. It is interesting to note the reactions of the disciples (Mark 4 v41) and the Pharisees (Luke 5 v21). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is, of course, the greatest display of His deity and a sign that His claims to deity were correct (Matthew 12 v39,40 and Romans 1 v4). A lesson on this subject gives a wonderful opportunity to show that Jesus Christ is God.
    • 182 Section 2 — Chapter 12 By giving a systematic outline of why we believe Jesus Christ to be God as outlined on previous pages. This is more suited to older children and teenagers. His claims His miracles His sinless life His resurrection Our personal assurance By applying this truth to the lives of the children. This wonderful doctrine if thoroughly understood and completely believed will have a number of consequences in your own life, and in the lives of all the children to whom you minister. It is important therefore to apply this truth to the children’s lives. It can be readily applied to both saved children and unsaved children. Application to unsaved children “Because Jesus Christ is God: His death is sufficient for everyone and anyone (Matthew 26 v28; John 3 v16; 1 Timothy 2 v4; 1 Timothy 2 v6; 1 Peter 1 v18-21; 1 John 2 v2)—including you. He can do anything. Therefore He is able to save you—no matter how sinful you have been (1 Timothy 1 v12–17).” Application to saved children “Because Jesus Christ is God: He can do anything. Therefore He is able to help you with your weaknesses (Galatians 2 v20; Ephesians 5 v25–27; Hebrews 7 v25). You must worship Him as your God and Saviour (Luke 24 v52; John 5 v23; Philippians 2 v9–11; Hebrews 1 v6-9; Revelation 1 v5, 6; Revelation 5 v8–14). You must obey Him when He speaks to you through His Word (Matthew 28 v18-20; Ephesians 5 v22–24; Philippians 2 v10; Colossians 1 v18; 3:16, 24).”
    • Saved by Faith Alone 183 Chapter 13: The Origin of Man Are We the Product or Result of Evolution?T he theory of evolution originated with the publication of Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species” in 1859. The theory of theprogressive development and evolution of man from primitive cells towhat he is today was eagerly accepted and promoted by liberalProtestantism. It fits in well with their belief in the progressivedevelopment of truth, and how the concept of God and salvation hasdeveloped, changed and “materialised” down through the centuries. Italso fits in with their interpretation of the Bible as not being historicallyfactual but being an expression of man’s thoughts and ideas. Indeed itencourages their rejection of the literal teaching of creation, and theentrance of sin into the world. Why Is Evolution Wrong? The Bible teaches, and I believe, that the theory of evolution is wrongand extremely harmful for the following reasons:- Evolution teaches that we are not responsible to anyone. Man is the master of his fate! On the other hand creation teaches that we are responsible to our Creator and that we are under His authority (Ecclesiastes. 12 v1; Acts 17 v24–31). Evolution denies the clear teaching of the Word of God which states that the world was created in six days. And it denies, especially, that man was created instantaneously from the dust of the earth in the image of God (Genesis chapters 1 and 2). Evolution teaches that all things happen by chance. This contradicts the fact that God specifically planned creation (Genesis 1 v3–31; Revelation 4 v11) for His own reasons and according to His own purposes. Evolution spoils the harmony and agreement which exists between true science and faith in God. Evolution is only a theory, a very weak theory which has not been proved, and indeed cannot be. Many scientists even non-
    • 184 Section 2 — Chapter 13 Christian scientists, do not believe it any longer. However, not having any other explanation of our universe (except creation which they reject) school authorities and universities still support the teaching of evolution. The result of the teaching of evolution to the children is that theydo not see their responsibility to God, their Creator. Through thistheory they have been exposed to a philosophy and the way of lifewhich focuses upon man, and denies divine authority. What Should We Do? Consequently, in our teaching and our evangelism of children, andespecially those children with a liberal Protestant background who havebeen much exposed to the theory of evolution, it is necessary for us toteach both negatively (to show that evolution is not true) and positively (toshow that biblical creation is true). How can we do this? By teaching clearly the Creation story as contained in the first two chapters of Genesis. When doing this there are several facts to emphasize: that God created the world from nothing in six days. I personally believe these to have been six literal 24 hour days. that God made the first man out of the dust of the earth. The body was made first, and then God gave him life. Evolution reverses this! that God made the first woman from the first man. that the first man and woman were perfect and without sin. As a consequence there was a downward spiral after, and because of, their sin and not an evolution upward as the evolutionists claim. as you teach these facts it is good to refer specifically to the theory of evolution, and the fact that it is opposed to the Word of God. Do so in a wise and loving way. You need to be constructive at all times, not just destructive. By frequently laying emphasis on the fact that the Bible is absolutely true giving your reasons for saying so (see pages 174-177).
    • Saved by Faith Alone 185 By pointing out that there are many scientists and intellectuals who do not accept the theory of evolution but who, instead, believe the biblical account of Creation. By emphasizing that evolution is only a theory and that it has never been proved as fact. By pointing out that it is easier to believe in creation than it is to believe that everything just happened, when, so clearly, there is a complicated design in the world about us. By recommending to the older children and teenagers books on the subject such as “From Nothing to Nature” by Professor E. H. Andrews (published by Euro books), and “The Great Brain Robbery” by David Watson (published by Henry E. Walter). You could also buy several of these books and hand them to the children. It is probably better for you not to go into a lot of detail concerningevolution in your attempt to disprove it unless you are well preparedand have a very good knowledge of your subject. But on this page andthe pages which follow you will find a very helpful and quite detailedstudy of the errors of evolution. This study is outlined in a bookletpublished by International Christian Crusade and is entitled “IsEvolution A Fact?—The Truth Shall Make You Free.” It is possible that when you teach this subject and also (as I havealready said on page 178) when you teach and explain the verbal inspirationof the Bible you may find that older children and teenagers will see you asvery old fashioned and not too intellectual. Your teaching will be very muchagainst the stream of modern thought, teaching and influence. But do notallow this to discourage you. You are taking a stand upon God’s Word andupon truth, even when you cannot understand everything, and are not ableto explain all the details. Even when older children and teenagers criticise you and laugh atyou, in their hearts they will often recognise and respect the fact thatyou know what you believe and that you are willing to stand up for it.This will be in sharp contrast to many of the generalities, much of thevagueness and the abundance of criticism to which they are accustomed.There is often within themselves a respect for, and perhaps even adesire for, TRUTH.
    • 186 Section 2 — Chapter 13 Is Evolution A Fact? The Truth Shall Make You Free (This section is a reprint of a leaflet by the International Christian Crusade, Toronto, Canada) Scripture quotations are from the King James VersionIs Evolution A Fact? In most of our universities and high schools today the theory ofevolution is taught or accepted as a fact. But if we examine the evidenceclosely it will be found that the theory cannot be supported by theavailable facts. If evolution were true then the record of life on this planet shouldbe found imbedded in the crust of the earth. The fossil remains ofextinct life should shade imperceptibly from the lowest one-celled formsat the bottom all the way up to Man at the top like the colors of thespectrum. But when we come to examine the record this is not whatwe find. Life appeared suddenly and abruptly in what is known as theCambrian period. That is the first great difficulty in the theory.The Missing Record The first three-quarters of the supposed history of evolution on theearth are missing. This part of the record, comprising the ancestors ofthe fossil species, should be found in the pre-Cambrian rocks. But it isnot there, although these formations are admirably suited for thepreservation of fossils. A few isolated remains of organic life have been reported in someparts of the world lying on or near the surface of pre-Cambrian rocksbut they are certainly not the missing record of evolution. They areprobably the result of translocation from other areas. Scientists have been searching for the lost history for over a hundredyears and they are still trying to find it. If the record cannot be found,however, it would be only reasonable to assume that these early formsof life never did exist and, if they never did exist, then evolution could
    • Saved by Faith Alone 187never have occurred. How do you explain the fact that the first three-quarters of thesupposed history of evolution is missing when the rocks, where thefossils should have been found, are so well adapted for theirpreservation? Since the early history of evolution is missing it is onlyby faith that the theory can be accepted.Intermediate Forms The second great difficulty lies in the fact that in the fossil recordno intermediate or transitional forms between the highly peculiarspecies such as whales, seals, sea-cows, kangaroos, bats, dragonflies,spiders, etc., and their supposed ancestors have ever been discovered.The earliest fossils of these exhibit all the features that distinguish thegroups to which they belong. According to the theory of evolution, all living forms, past andpresent, are transitional in an endless chain of life. Why, then, arethere not samples of all the millions of transitional forms in the fossilrecord instead of just those which obviously belong to a definite species?Over 100,000 species of fossils have been identified as such and theyhave been classified just as clearly as the living species of today. No organism is known today with 2, 4, 6, 8 etc. cells, and there isno evidence that any such creatures have ever existed in the past. Butsuch forms must have lived at some time or other if evolution weretrue. The Protozoa, or one-celled organisms, such as the Amoeba, aregenerally supposed to have been the earliest forms of life and theyshould be found in the lowest level of the geological record. But theyare located in the rocks at all levels of the geological column. The next highest forms in the evolutionary scale are the Metazoa,or many-celled creatures. Among the smallest of these are the Rotiferswhich have about 800 cells each. Some of the Protozoa are actuallylarger than the Rotifers. How do you account for the enormous gapbetween the one-celled Protozoa and the smallest Metazoa with 800cells? There is no evidence of the existence of any forms to fill thisgap either in the fossil record or in the world about us. How, then, do you account for the absence of all these intermediateforms? Here again the gaps in the record can be filled in only by faith.
    • 188 Section 2 — Chapter 13Neo-Darwinism According to the modern Neo-Darwinian or synthetic theory ofevolution all living plants and animals have developed through thecombined effort of (1) random, that is change, mutations, and (2) naturalselection with the survival of the fit. A mutation is a change in thegenetic structure of a reproductive cell resulting in the development ofa new or different characteristic in the offspring. It is believed thatmost of the mutations which occur in nature are the result of cosmicrays, but they can also be produced by the use of X-rays and bychemicals such as gibberelic acid, colchicine etc. All of these agentsare deleterious, however, and it is well known that mutations are inferiorto the normal forms. If, therefore, mutations had been the basic ofevolution in the past this would have involved the survival of the unfitand not the fit. Moreover, natural selection, if there were such an activeprinciple in nature, could only have selected new characteristics. Itcould never have originated new forms or new species. In order to overcome this obvious weakness in the theory it isgenerally explained that a mutation, though less fit in its usual habitat,might have greater survival value if translated to another area. A flywith small, atrophic wings, for example, might survive better than anormal one on a windswept island. But as the mutant forms are defectiveand degenerate they would still be inferior to the normal flies in vitality,viability, and fertility. How could the survival of the unfit lead to the development ofnew or superior forms? Darwin himself considered that the idea ofevolution was unsatisfactory unless its mechanism could be explained.Disintegration The higher elements on earth such as radium are continuallybreaking down to form lower ones by a process of disintegration, andnowhere on this planet are any of the higher elements being evolved fromlower ones. Plants and animals are made out of the same elements as therest of the world, and the elements in living forms are subject to the samelaws of physics and chemistry as those found elsewhere. How, then, wouldit have been possible for the higher forms to have developed from thelower ones? Cultivated plants and livestock always revert to their natural stateif left untended. They never “improve.” It is only under carefully
    • Saved by Faith Alone 189controlled conditions that the artificially selected varieties can be preserved.All things left to themselves tend to go bad, sour, rusty, mouldy, rotten,disorderly, dead. There is no evidence anywhere in the natural world ofthe “progress towards perfection” that Darwin suggested. How, then, couldevolution have occurred? And since death may occur in all forms of lifeone may well ask, “Did death also evolve?”Recapitulation Perhaps you have been told of the so-called biogenic law ofrecapitulation. This is the theory that the higher organisms repeat thehistory of their evolutionary ancestry in their own development. Thehuman embryo is thus supposed to pass through stages in embryoniclife which resemble in turn the fish, the amphibian, the reptile and thequadruped mammal. But, if evolution were true, how is it that thesestages sometimes appear in the wrong order? The tongues of mammals,for example, develop before the teeth but, according to the theory ofevolution, the teeth are modified scales and developed before thetongue. Surely nature would have made no mistake in the record. If embryonic recapitulation were true than it should be possible totrace the complete ancestry of every living plant and animal by studyingits embryological development but this is impossible. The common deformities in Man such as harelip, cleft palate, clubfoot, extra fingers and toes, etc. should afford some clue to our ownevolutionary history, but these abnormalities are not characteristic ofany possible ancestor. Some biologists have abandoned the theory of recapitulationaltogether, but it is still taught in most of our colleges and schools. In view of these difficulties how can you accept the theory ofrecapitulation?Vestiges Perhaps you have been told that there are a number of organs inthe human body which are the vestigial remains of our animals ancestorsbut which are useless today. Wiedersheim, a German anatomist,originally listed one hundred and eighty such organis, but it is nowgenerally accepted that all of these listed are useful at some time orother in the development of the human body. It is obvious, of course,that we have no right to call any structure vestigial that is useful to itspossessor at any time in the development of the organism.
    • 190 Section 2 — Chapter 13 Among the organs which were originally classified as vestigial are theappendix, the tonsils, and the coccyx or lower end of the spine. But it isnow well known that these structures are important and useful. The appendixis rich in lymphoid tissue which is a protective mechanism against infectionespecially in childhood and during early adult life. The function of the tonsilsis the formation of lymphocytes which are a type of white blood cells. Thefact that one can get along quite well without one or other of these so-called vestigial organs does not imply that they are useless. One can getalong with only one eye or one leg but this does not mean that the othermember was useless. The coccyx, or lower end of the spine, is regarded from anevolutionary point of view as a vestigial tail turned inwards. The coccyxis necessary, however, in order to provide attachment for the musclesof elimination and it is turned inwards to enable man to sit down withoutinconvenience. Occasionally a child is born with what appears to be atail and it is sometimes suggested that such a supposed tail is evidenceof evolution from tailed ancestors. But it would be equally legitimateto assume that when a child is born with six fingers it is evidence thatman has descended from a six-fingered animal. It may be added, also,that apes, which are supposed to be one of our nearest ancestors, haveno tails. But even if these structures were rudimentary or vestigial remainsit would be evidence of degeneration and retrogression and not ofevolutionary progress. The problem of evolution is to prove that livingcreatures acquire new organs and new characteristics, not that theylose the old ones.Further Difficulties Some animals have complicated organs which would have beenquite useless until fully developed as, for example, the web-spinningorgans of the spider. How would it have been possible for thesespinnerets to have evolved gradually? They would have been uselessuntil fully completed, and the intermediate stages would have beenonly a handicap or at least nuisance to the organism during the processof development. Similarly, there are many creatures which have instincts or habitswhich could not possibly have evolved gradually, such as the water-spider’shabit of constructing it s diving-bell, or the house martin’s practice of building
    • Saved by Faith Alone 191its cup-shared mud nest attached to a vertical surface. A partially developeddiving-bell or nest would have been worthless. The caterpillar when it is about to pupate ceases to eat and thenevacuates both the contents of the intestine and also the lining so thatno putrefaction can develop during its long hibernation. This eventoccurs only once in the lifetime of the individual. How could such aprocedure have developed gradually step by step in the process ofevolution? There is a great difference between the egg of the reptile and thatof the amphibian, from which the reptile is supposed to have evolved.The latter requires three new organs, the shell, the amnion and theallantois. All three of these structures must have been perfect andcomplete at the first “trial” or else the egg would have perished andwith it the species. How could these and many other complicated organs, and instinctshave arisen by slow, gradual changes, when the various structures orinstincts would have been entirely useless or even harmful until fullydeveloped?An Unbridgeable Gap There is an unbridgeable gap between man and the brute creation.Man is unique in his origin and destiny and in his upright position. Allother animals move in the horizontal plane. It is true, of course, thatmonkeys, apes, bears, dogs and chipmunks, etc. sometimes stand orwalk in the upright position, but their normal mode of locomotion ison all fours. Man alone can read and write, and man alone is conscious of historywith all its lessons. Man alone is able to kindle fire and invent our moderntools. Man alone has a sense of humour that gives rise to laughter, andman alone has the gift of speech. The cries of animals and birds are emotionaland not conceptual. They are only exclamations. All the organs of voice inthe ape cannot speak. Man alone experiences a sense of guilt when he does wrong, andman alone is conscious of the judgment to come. Man alone enjoys thehope of immortality beyond the grave, and man alone has the spiritualunderstanding which enables him to commune with God. No otheranimal has ever shown a desire to worship whereas the most primitiveman, even in the most debased society, always retains this fundamental
    • 192 Section 2 — Chapter 13urge and instinct. How do you explain the great gulf which exists between man andthe brute creation from which man is supposed to have evolved?The Wonder of the Universe Do you honestly believe that the world with all its beauty, orderand complexity just happened by chance? Even a snowflake is a marvelof construction. The universe is so vast and so wonderful that it isalmost beyond the comprehension of man even with all our modernmethods of investigation and research. Surely some higher intelligencewas needed in order to bring the cosmos into being. And surely theremust have been some purpose in the origin of the universe and in theorigin of life. That reason is given to us in Revelation 4 v11 where weread, “Thou has created all things and for Thy pleasure they areand were created.” From an evolutionary point of view, however, chance takes theplace of God in the order of development. Evolution is regarded as aself-starting, self-propagating, self-evolving, purposeless process whichhas led to the development of the entire universe including man. Buthow could the universe have evolved by blind chance? How could youascribe purpose to an atom? Is an atom conscious?Conclusion The gaps in the supposed history of evolution are so great and thecontradictions in the theory are so numerous that those who acceptevolution must do so by faith alone, just as truly as Christians placetheir faith in the reality of the unseen God. The only alternative toevolution is creation. It may be argued that the majority of scientists and teachers acceptthe theory of evolution as a fact but it is well to remember that themajority are not always right. Before World War II ninety millionJapanese believed that the Emperor and his people were descendedfrom the Sun Goddess. Now they are being taught that they descendedfrom apes or monkeys. Thus one delusion succeeds another. The acceptance of the theory of evolution involves a materialisticconcept of life and this, in turn, implies that there has been no overrulingProvidence in the origin and sustenance of the universe. If evolutionwere true then man is only an animal and life is cheap. In the Darwiniancode of ethics, goodness is measured in terms of survival value alone.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 193Whatever will enable the individual or the species to survive is right.But such a concept would involve the abandonment of all that is goodand noble in human nature. If we are just reconstructed monkeys orapes, and if survival is all that matters then life would be futile andthere would be no hope beyond the grave. The Bible tells us, however,that man was created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1 v26). Ourbelief in the sanctity of human life and in the value and dignity of thehuman soul for whom Christ died rests upon our appreciation of thisfact.Truth and Freedom If you are really seeking for the truth you will find it revealed inthe Bible which is the Word of God. As our Lord said, “If ye continuein My Word . . . ye shall know the truth and the truth shall makeyou free” (John 8 v31, 32). Truth and freedom are closely linkedtogether. You can never be truly free unless and until your life hasbeen surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who only is “the Way, theTruth and the Life” (John 14 v6). His service is perfect freedom. “Ifthe Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”(John 8 v36).Decision You may place your faith in evolution or you may place your faithin God and in His Word. But one thing sure and certain is that humandestiny lies in the balance, the destiny of your own soul. It is truly amatter of life and death for “he that believeth not is condemnedalready” (John 3 v18). “And this is life eternal, that they might knowThee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent”(John 17 v3).
    • 194 Section 2 — Chapter 14 Chapter 14: The Next Step What Is Our Response?A s we come to the end of our studies together concerning this very large, and very special, group of children we need to realise thechallenge which they present to us. And we need to ask ourselves if thereis something God wants us to do to help these children, especially byevangelizing them and, where possible, by leading them to Christ. I believe there are four steps which God wants us to take and Iwish to illustrate and explain these four steps from the story of Elishaand the dead son of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings chapter 4. The woman’s son had died (verse 20) and the distracted mother ofthe boy felt that the only person who could help her in her desperatesituation was the prophet Elisha. So in verses 24 and 25 she left forMount Carmel to find him and ask him to help in some way. Howwonderful that there was someone who was willing to help a child inneed! It is your privilege and mine to be the same kind of person thatElisha was, and to be willing and able to help the children about whomwe have been speaking in this book. But how was he able to help? What was he able and willing to do?What are the steps which he took? These steps illustrate the steps whichwe also can and should take. He Understood the Child’s Need At first when the boy’s mother arrived it is obvious from verse 27that Elisha did not know what the problem was. But when the womanasked her questions in verse 28 Elisha realised immediately that theboy was dead. Now he understood. The first step we need to take is to understand the spiritual needof children with a liberal Protestant background. They are as deadspiritually as the woman’s son was physically and they need to besaved. If we don’t understand, we cannot help.
    • Saved by Faith Alone 195 He Had Compassion on the Child We read in verse 30 that “he arose and followed her.” He was a verybusy man. He was a spiritual leader and a man with many responsibilitiesand yet he was ready and willing to go to one child who was in great need.Why did he do so? There can be only one answer. His heart was touched. He hadcompassion on the child, and he wanted to meet the child’s need; andHis compassion was evidenced by what he was ready to do to helphim. It is so important for us that our understanding does not remain inour heads, but that it touches our hearts with compassion for thesechildren. This compassion will then manifest itself in our actions. He Prayed for the Child We can imagine the sense of helplessness which Elisha must haveexperienced coming into that house with its atmosphere of death. Whatcould he do in what seemed a completely hopeless and impossiblesituation? We read the answer in verse 33: “He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD.” He may have remembered what his former master Elijah had donein exactly the same situation (1 Kings 17 v20,21), and he followed hisexample by engaging in prayer. As we understand the spiritual needs of these children, and as ourhearts are touched by those needs, we will want to do something, eventhough we feel so helpless. What can we do? What can one person do?Elisha shows us what we can do. We can pray. What we understandwith our heads, and feel in our hearts, should drive us to our knees. He Went to the Child and Made Contact with Him We read in verse 34 what Elisha did after he prayed: “And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands” and again in verse 35:
    • 196 Section 2 — Chapter 14 “he went up and stretched himself out on him.” It is important to understand, and to feel compassion and to praybut it is also important and necessary, like Elisha, to go to the child, tomake contact with him and to bring to him the message of life. Thatwhich has informed his head, has touched his heart, and has affectedhis knees, has now led him to use his feet. “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10 v14b). “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10 v15). “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10 v17). You and I need therefore to find some way by which we can go tothese children, gather them together and share with them the gloriousGospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We could start a Good News Club in our home and invite the children to come each week We could have open-air 5-Day Clubs in the summertime to reach them We could invite them to come to camp We could organise children’s rallies, children’s evangelistic campaigns or Holiday Bible Schools We could distribute children’s tracts and enrol interested children in a correspondence course But it is important to do SOMETHING to reach them. Notice again the four steps taken by Elisha—in sequence: With his HEAD — he understood In his HEART — he felt compassion On his KNEES — he prayed With his FEET — he went Head - heart - knees - feet. That was the logical order for Elisha,
    • Saved by Faith Alone 197and it is also the logical order for us in our desire to help these children.God starts at the top, and works downwards—step by step! He starts withour heads, and finally leads us to use our feet! The wonderful consequence was: “the child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes” (verse 35). What a joy it will be for us to see some of the children of whom wehave been speaking open their eyes, and become alive—truly alive,spiritually alive and eternally alive. May God show us what we should do—and then help us to do it.Amen!
    • 198 Section 2 — Chapter 14 Books for Further Reading on this Subject“Evangelical Dictionary of Theology” (Baker Book House) Pages 631-634.“Moody Handbook of Theology” by P. Enns (Moody Press) Pages 463-464 and 549-558.“Foundations of the Christian Faith” by J.M. Boice (IVP) Pages 71-73, 79-89.“New Dictionary of Theology” (IVP) Pages 384-387, 438-439.“Systematic Theology” by L. Berkhof (Banner of Truth). Look up Modern Liberalism in Index of Subjects, and read the pages given.“Systematic Theology” by W. Grudem (IVP) Look up liberal churches in Index of Subjects, and read the pages given.“Heresies Exposed” by W. C. Irvine (Loizeaux) Pages 29-33, 79-94, 105-127“Modernism Versus The Bible” by A. J. Pollock (Central Bible Truth Depot)“The Battle For The Bible” by H. Lindsell (Zondervan).(These books are not available from the CEF Specialized Book Ministry.)