Monday, January 26, 2009
JUSTIFIED BY FAITH plus NOTHING
GALATIANS 3;24-''Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.'' God has left us but one way into His favor, namely, by faith and by faith alone. If we resolve to do our very best, all that we can do leaves under law with its unmet demands, therefore, under the curse of the law, even death and condemnation. We are still on OUR SIDE, with no ability to get ourselves out of our trouble. Only faith will transfer to us to HIS SIDE, where He can deal with us in grace, as His own children, heirs of His gracious promises, partakers of His own life, possessed of His Holy SPIRIT. This conclusion is definite and decisive, with no middle ground, sealed to us by this solemn, summary declaration, found in GALATIANS 3;22--''But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.'' This verse is saying the Scripture has everything completely imprisoned under sin,so that the promise might be given the believers through faith in Jesus Christ. If the Bible speaks God's Mind, and it does, then all who think to commend themselves to God by their conduct, all who seek to come into HIS FAVOR BY TRYING TO BE GOOD, are simply trying to get out of prison. THEY ARE GUILTY OF attempted jail-break... They are making their condition worse, inviting a more severe sentence. There is but one way out. WHAT IS JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH/ All that man can do leaves him helplessly on Our Side, lawfully ''imprisoned under sin.'' IF ANYTHING IS TO BE DONE ABOUT IT GOD WILL HAVE TO DO IT. So the Scriptures mercilessly show man his condition that, ceasing from his own doings, he may fasten his attention upon what God has done--done to lift man over onto His Side, JUSTIFIED FROM all these ugly charges against him. Justification, then, has three steps; 1-Man has sinned, and God declares ''all under sin,'' deserving the death penalty. 2-God provided a Sinlless One, having no need to die for Himself but purposing to take our death penalty upon Himself. This He did, and God accepted of His death, in that He raised Him from the dead. 3-All who will accept what HE HAS DONE for them and come over ''into Christ.'' Good is free to declare righteous in His sight, and deal with them as such. By faith they have changed sides; they are now on His Side, in His favor. That is, JUSTIFICATION IS A DECLARATIVE ACT ON GOD'S PART. He has declared us all sinners ''in Adam''; now HE IS FREE TO DECLARE us all righteous ''in Christ.'' FAITH ALONE CAN MAKE THE TRANSFER. The Westminister divines stated it well; ''Justification is an act of GOD'S FREE GRACE, WHEREIN he pardoneth all our sins,and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only fot the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.'' This stament is supported by many scriptures, such as; EPHESIANS 1;7; ROMANS 3; 24; 4;6; 5;18; GALATIANS 2;16; II CORINTHIANS 5;21. ''By faith alone'' is especially enforced by these; ''Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law''; ''Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness'' [ROMANS 3;28; 4;4-5]. It is clearly evident that God's plan is such as admits no admixture of man's efforts; on man's part they are futile;on God's part they are an offered affront. Why is the ''faith alone'' principle so offensive to man/ Why does he so persistently revert to the law principle/ Faith alone hurts his pride; law affords him an opportunity to do something. He will accept God's plan of salvation if only he can do something toward it. God says, No. Take it by faith, or leave it alone. THE GOSPEL PAUL PREACHED The ppreaching that brought salvation to these Galatian Christians is recorded in ACTS 13;14-43. Having first of all obtained audience with the children of Israel, Paul rehearsed with them God's dealings with their fathers through Moses and David, leading on to David's greater Son, pointing out that they had fulfilled the Scripture in putting Him on the cross, but that God also had fulfilled the Scripture in raising Him from the dead. Having dwelt upon these two great saving facts--''Who was delivered for our offebces, and was raised again for our justification''--Paul comes quickly to his conclusion, that salvation is to be had only in HIM; ACTS 13;38-39-''Be it known therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses'' [ACTS 13; 38-39]. NOTE THE TWO ALLS; ''All justified from all,''; something which no law and no adherence to law could accomplish. Why/ LAW'S FATAL FUTILITY The great desideratum of human existence is LIFE. There is nothing man values so highly as life. Not having life, he has nothing. At any cost man must have life. THE INDICTMENT OF LAW IS THAT IT CANNOT MEET THIS, man's greatest need; it cannot produce life. Man is spiritually dead--''dead in trespasses and sins''-and law leaves him dead. Do,do, do all that the law demands,yet all the doing fails to generate a spark of life. So we read; ''If there had been a law fiven which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law'' [GALATIANS 3;21]. The notable fact is that man, in a scientific age, has never been able by scientific process to produce life. God still holds the secret of life within His own wisdom and power, yes, within Himself. God is life; God is its source. Man's story is that he began with God-breathed life. God ''breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul'' [Genesis 2;7]. The life man had was God's life, God-breathed, God-imparted. God was its source. But man allowed Satan and sin to separate him from God, from his source of life, even though he was warned, ''in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die'' [Genesis 2;17]. That day his spiritual life was snuffed out, and his physical life was shortened to a brief sopan of years. That is Man's history, a history of death, death, death and darkness. What he desperately needs is life, and the light which life enables him to see. So, now, ''what the law could not do. . .God sending his own Son'' delivered us from this state of death by placing us under the control of the Spirit's life; ''For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law--the control--of sin and death'' [ROMANS 8;2-3, with 7;24]. So the Gospel is this; The same God Who breathed life into man, at the beginning brings the Good News to life-bereft man, saying, ''I am come that they might have life'' [JOHN 10;10]. ''I am the life'' [JOHN 14;6]. How shall we obtain this life/ Work for it/ No, indeed; even our physical life did not come that way. Be good for it/ We have no goodness; that comes with the life. No, it must be a gift. ''I give unto them eternal life''; ''The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord'' [JOHN 10;28; ROMANS 6;23].