Welcome to “Learning and Living the God-centered life” Carmel Baptist Church www.learningandlivingtheword.com April 19, 2009
<ul><li>DOCTRINE OF GOD </li></ul><ul><li>The Trinity </li></ul><ul><li>Why should we as Christians study the Trinity? </li></ul><ul><li>Because God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through His word as God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit and therefore if we want to know Him we must know Him as triune! </li></ul><ul><li>Definition of the Trinity </li></ul><ul><li>God’s whole and undivided essence belongs equally, eternally, simultaneously and fully to each of the three Persons of the Godhead, so that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit each is fully God while each in His own personal expression in role and activity, of one eternal and undivided essence. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The two key views or aspects of the cross </li></ul><ul><li>View #1 of the cross </li></ul><ul><li>The view of the cross that focuses upon the significance of what Jesus accomplished in relationship to how we would stand before God. ( Atonement, Propitiation, Justification ) </li></ul><ul><li>View #2 of the cross </li></ul><ul><li>This focuses upon the significance of what Christ accomplished in relationship to the bondage that the powers of sin, death and the devil have over us. The fact is we come into this world enslaved to sin and here the cross presents to us the important work of Christ’s death. It is His death on the cross which has redeemed and delivered us from these evil powers. ( Redemption, Ransom ) </li></ul>
The problems of humanity are not Heart Disease Diabetes Alzheimer’s The greatest problem with all humanity is… SIN Cancer
Sin is a two-fold problem Problem #1 (Problem with the heart) There is an internal problem. Man himself is crooked, defiled and perverse. Mark 7:21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, Mark 7:22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. Mark 7:23 “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
Sin is a two-fold problem Problem #2 (Problem with the law) There is an external aspect to the problem of sin. Not only do I have a bad heart but in fact I also have a bad record. I have a criminal record in the eyes of God’s law. James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
<ul><li>If a person is not a Christian then we know these two things: </li></ul><ul><li>Sin is defiling and enslaving who they are </li></ul><ul><li>And it’s also condemning them for what they have done. </li></ul><ul><li>On the one hand sin is reigning and ruling over them. It has a chain around the neck and is bidding them to do its work. </li></ul><ul><li>But the very penalty of that sin is crying out for their death. </li></ul><ul><li>Just think if that person could change today and never sin again, they would still have to deal with all those past crimes that call for their death. </li></ul>
<ul><li>But when a man starts to hear and fall under the conviction of the law, then the name of Jesus will mean something to him. </li></ul><ul><li>Matt. 1:21 “… and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus takes care of the internal problem with regeneration and He takes care of the external problem with justification . </li></ul><ul><li>The key question throughout all of history is simply this: </li></ul><ul><li>How can a wicked, evil and rebellious man ever be considered right before a holy and just God? </li></ul>
IF SIN IS THE BAD NEWS AND EACH OF US IS GUILTY OF SIN BEFORE GOD THEN WHAT IS THE GOOD NEWS
JUSTIFICATION Justification is an instantaneous act of God in which He thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us. In so doing He declares us to be righteous in His sight.
<ul><li>JUSTIFICATION </li></ul><ul><li>Martin Luther said this the doctrine upon which the church either stands or falls. </li></ul><ul><li>In the creed we confess that the church is holy and yet the church is holy in so far as it embraces and is covered with the righteousness of Christ. </li></ul><ul><li>And that occurs when the church proclaims such a true gospel as the NT presents and lives by it. </li></ul><ul><li>This means the holiness and righteousness of the church is fully dependent upon the righteousness and holiness of Christ and that alone. </li></ul><ul><li>It further means that each individual is unto themselves sinful and we may only reckon ourselves as holy and righteous in our standing before God solely on the basis of the justifying work and the atonement that is ours in Christ Jesus. </li></ul>
As we begin to study… The following will observations from Scripture regarding justification We all have heard the expression “familiarity breeds contempt.” And unfortunately we have been around the church and Christian jargon for so long that these things become mundane and worthless to us. But these are truths from the Bible that need to be taught, understood, embraced and lived out in our Christian lives.
OBSERVATION #1 Justification is based on the blood of Jesus. Rom. 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 1John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. In other words when God justifies a man, He is not looking at the man. But rather God is looking at the blood of Christ. When God justifies a man, He does not justify based on anything in the man.
A man goes to heaven on the basis of what someone else has done. God doesn’t justify a man because he is or has become in anyway godly. But rather we learn from Romans 4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, Do you feel unworthy of your justification? Well if you do then you are exactly right because you in fact do not deserve it, nor have you earned it. Everything about a man cries out against justification but God justifies on the basis the blood of Christ. This of course includes our repentance and our faith. But these are the “means of” but not “ground or cause for” justification
<ul><li>OBSERVATION #2 </li></ul><ul><li>Justify means to declare as righteous not to make righteous. </li></ul><ul><li>God declares that something is true about us on the outside in relation to His law. </li></ul><ul><li>God declares us to be right in the sight of His law. </li></ul><ul><li>Justification is not a process that makes us good on the inside. God does that via another doctrine that we call regeneration. </li></ul><ul><li>Rom. 8:33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; </li></ul><ul><li>Rom. 8:34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the opposite of justify? </li></ul><ul><li>Answer - condemn </li></ul>
Question When the judge condemns the guilty man for his crime, does the judge make that man bad on the inside? Answer - of course NOT! The judge is simply bring a declaration about him from the outside based on what he has done. Therefore justification is our standing before God in terms of His law. And having been justified we stand before Him as innocent based on the blood of Christ.
OBSERVATION #3 Justification has no grading by degrees. When a person is justified, that person is 100% justified right then and right there. A person is either 100% righteous in the eyes of God’s law or a person is 100% condemned. Illustration: Here is a man who has 7 counts of murder against him and he is absolved of 6 of those crimes, he is still a condemned man. James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
<ul><li>If you have one thought, one word or one action that breaks the law of God, then you are a condemned man. </li></ul><ul><li>If there is one sin that you need to pay for then you will be in hell forever, because that one sin carries an infinite offense against a God whose holiness is infinite. </li></ul><ul><li>Rom. 8:1 ¶ Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>If you are a Christian then you are 100% justified in the eyes of God’s law. </li></ul><ul><li>The righteousness that you have is the very righteousness of Christ. </li></ul><ul><li>Phil. 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, </li></ul>
This doesn’t matter how you feel or even how you fail, this has everything to do with Christ. Illustration: The apostle Paul who knew God better that all of us in this class. And yet Paul’s justification is no greater than those of us in here, who are in Christ. Illustration: Son of Sam the killer who got converted while in prison. And though he did some terrible and evil things his justification is not less than any of ours.
Observation #4 Justification is more than a pardon. In our country the governor of the president has the power to pardon a criminal. And sometimes a wicked man is pardoned. When a guilty man is pardoned is the crime paid for? Was the threatened sentence of the law carried out? Ezek. 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die. If God were to overlook sin then He would not be just. But He is just so there is penalty for sin and that is death. Pardon gets a man off the hook without justice being satisfied.
Pardon is an act of executive clemency where the justice of the law is not carried out. In contrast justification is the declaration of a judge. When God justifies He does not let you off the hook and your sin is still hanging out there in the air. If the devil ever come to harass you with a specific sin or sins that you say ”well if it hadn’t been for that...“ It was the that which fell on the Lord Jesus at the cross that washed you white as snow! When God justifies He is not pretending that your sins have been paid for. But rather He looks in the book and sees that your sins have been paid for by the death of His Son.
OBSERVATION #5 Justification is both positive and negative Rom. 4:6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: Rom. 4:7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. Rom. 4:8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.” The negative side of justification is that God will not impute sin to that man. On the positive side He reckons or imputes righteousness not on the basis of works.
It is scriptural to compare sin with a debt. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 18 the parable of the man that owed so much money. We owed millions and millions and God says the debt has been paid which brings us up to zero. But there must be positive obedience in order that we can join Him in heaven. And that is exactly what Christ does when we get the righteousness of Christ. Romans 5:1-2 Rom. 5:1 ¶ Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 5:2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Not only were we rebelling and fighting God but more importantly God was mad with us. Illustration: The criminal is running and he has his gun. The police are after him with their guns and they surround him and the criminal throws down his gun. Now what is wrong with this picture? The criminal throws his gun down and the police then throw their guns down. Why don’t they do this? Because they will hold the gun on that man until justice has been satisfied.
When it says now that we have peace with God, it is saying that God has put down His gun against us. God is not mad at me in any way, shape or form because He sees me as fully obedient to His law. Hope is the joyful expectation of what I know is coming. This is the positive side of justification.
OBSERVATION #6 Justification is once for all. Rom. 5:1 ¶ Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, The word justified in the Greek is dikaioo, which in Romans 5:1 is in the aorist tense and the passive voice. In other words a person doesn’t get justified and then fall under condemnation and then get justified and fall under condemnation. Then we read in Romans 5:2 Rom. 5:2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. The verb stand is in the perfect/active/indicative
Therefore justification puts us in a whole new standing with God. Illustration #1 A man who is unkind to his wife. He goes to work and a couple of hours later he thinks and says to himself that was sin. He then asks God to forgive Him and then calls his wife and asks for her to forgive his rudeness. Suppose you die between the unkind words to your wife and before you repent and ask forgiveness, will you now go to hell? This man remains in a justified state while he has sin that remains unconfessed.
Illustration #2 You get up and have an argument and know that you did wrong because you did it on purpose. And later that day you go through what you did before. If you had died between that period of time would you go to hell? Answer - No Why are you miserable all day when you have a sin that is on purpose? Because you are a child of God. This man is no longer a criminal that is before a judge but a child that is in the arms of his Father. Because this man has passed from the realm of sin and darkness into the realm of life and righteousness in Christ
There may be times where God may still have to discipline you as His child but this is very different from judicial punishment. Judicial punishment is suffering that is inflicted to satisfy justice. Discipline is suffering inflicted because of love for the one that is being chastened. If God has to take you to the wood shed then He holds your hand and carries you on the way back. If justification was not once for all then we would have to get justified again and again after every sin we commit. Hebrews Chapter 10:1-17 When I now come to confess my sins I do not come as a criminal before a judge but as a child before a loving Father .
OBSERVATION #7 Justification is received by faith Faith is not the ground but rather the instrument or the channel by which a person receives the gift of righteousness. When someone comes to you and says “what must I do to be saved?” If you tell them to make a decision or just ask Christ into your heart what you are doing is directing them inside. You direct men to faith in Christ. The Bible says that we must call on Him and whoever calls on Him will be saved. Faith is the opposite of doing something. Justifying faith realizes that all you can do is to receive the righteousness of Christ and throw yourself on the mercy of the cross.
We are not saved by faith in our faith. But rather we are saved by faith in Christ. Faith is like the eye that can not look at itself but must look at the object. Illustration: John 3:14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; John 3:15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. Peter walking on water was fine when he looked at Christ. But when his eyes left Christ and he looked at the wind and water he started to sink.
<ul><li>In Summary: </li></ul><ul><li>Justification is based on the blood of Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>Justify means to declare as righteous not to make righteous. </li></ul><ul><li>Justification has no grading by degrees. </li></ul><ul><li>Justification is more than a pardon. </li></ul><ul><li>Justification is both positive and negative </li></ul><ul><li>Justification is once for all. </li></ul><ul><li>Justification is received by faith </li></ul>
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THE STUDY OF JUSTIFICATION
Therefore justification is a term used in the NT to answer the question “so what?” in regard to this atoning work that we have been speaking about in the cross of Christ. And that is to say on the basis of innocent suffering as payment for our sins by the Lord Jesus Christ, God accepts that as an atonement for our sin not as an excuse for our sin. In other words our sins are paid for by Christ. And on the basis of that vicarious atonement, He the innocent paying for us the guilty, when that payment is made, almost like a judge in a court of law, God accepts that payment declaring us that are sinners to be righteous. Sin has not been swept under the rug or just let by-gones be by-gones but rather Christ has made full payment for our sins.
What God does in justification is after we have believed in Christ, which means we have trusted in Christ for forgiveness of sins, then God declares that we have no penalty for our sins or we are now right in His sight. Scriptural Support Romans 8:1 - Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 4:6-8 - just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: Rom. 4:7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. Rom. 4:8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”
But the forgiveness for our sins is only part 1 of our justification. At this point it makes us morally neutral but does not give us favor with God. Illustration: A student goes to seminary and flunks all of his classes the first year and then through much grace an administrator takes all the F’s away and says now there are no marks against you. At this point will the student get his degree? Answer - No, because that student still has to go to class and pass the courses in order to earn the degree. Just having the F’s removed doesn’t mean that you have credits to pass and get a degree. So by analogy when we have all our sins removed it just leaves us at neutral. There is no positive record of obedience.
Illustration: You go for your drivers license test and on the first day out you run a stop sign and have a wreck. And the DMV instructor says OK you were a little nervous I am going to tear this one up but you need to come back next week and do it again and pass. Just having you mistakes wiped out does not give you a drivers license. Once we get our sins forgiven we still have not passed the test so to speak. In order for God to declare us righteous in His sight He must give us the merits of perfect righteousness and here is where He gives us a gift of the record that Jesus earned.
Scriptural Support Isaiah 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness... This represents something positive that He has put over us. Romans 3:21-22 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6) Romans 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. So how can God declare us to be righteous when in fact you are not?
The acknowledgement of that comes by way of God saying to us that we are innocent and right in His sight. Justification is our innocence and righteousness in our standing before God on the basis of the atoning work of Christ on the cross. This righteousness of Christ is given to us through a process called IMPUTATION. Some synonyms for the word IMPUTE would be to reckon, regard or to credit; The word impute means to think of as belonging to. Therefore God thinks of the righteousness of Christ as belonging to us.
And that reckoning and regarding is not God playing a game with Him pretending that the sinner is really not that bad or looking the other way. He now thinks of us as righteous because He imputes, that is He gives to us the righteousness of Christ which has been won on the cross. Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” It was reckoned or counted or thought of by God as belonging to Abraham. 1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him . Therefore it is “in Christ” that we become something that we were not. We become the righteousness of God in Christ. Philippians 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith ,
So the record of Christ which was lived in total obedience to God is thought of as ours. And that is why it is so important to read the gospels so that you can see this life and understand how this righteousness works. God can declare us to be righteous based on the fact that He imputes the righteousness of Christ to us. This means that IMPUTATION is essential to the heart of the gospel. So why does Martin Luther say that the doctrine of justification by faith is the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls?
Because it is upon this that all sinful human beings stand or fall. In the creed we confess that the church is holy and yet the church is holy in so far as it embraces and is covered with the righteousness of Christ. And that occurs when the church proclaims the true gospel, the Christ crucified gospel, as the New Testament presents and lives by it. This means the holiness and righteousness of the church is fully dependent upon the righteousness and holiness of Christ and that alone.
<ul><li>It further means that each individual is unto themselves sinful and we may only reckon ourselves as holy and righteous in our standing before God solely on the basis of the justifying work and the atonement that is ours in Christ Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>In summary regarding justification </li></ul><ul><li>Legal Standing </li></ul><ul><li>Once for all time </li></ul><ul><li>Entirely God's work </li></ul><ul><li>Perfect in this life </li></ul><ul><li>Same in all Christians </li></ul><ul><li>External to us </li></ul>