Sunday, November 6, 2011

Justified By Faith!

Ever heard a Preacher give a sermon on being justified by works? If you have, chances are he preached from the book of James. What is wrong with that you ask? For one, the book of James was written to the Jews, the circumcision. It was not written for you Gentiles! Trying to understand the scriptures without rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) is a recipe for misunderstanding and confusion. It is true that All scripture is inspired by God, and is beneficial for teaching, for exposure, for correction, for discipline in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped, fitted out for every good act."2Ti 3:16-17 (CLT)

But all scripiture is not written about you! The book of James is even titled, James To The Twelve Tribes. James 1:1 James, of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ a servant, to the Twelve Tribes who are in the dispersion: Hail! (YLT) James is speaking to the twelve tribes, not to you, the Gentile. Paul is your teacher. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:11 I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher of the nations. (CLT) The nations being the Gentiles. 

The second issue with preaching and teaching Justification by works to gentiles is that it directly contradicts what Paul teaches. Paul says: Romans 4:2-5 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not toward God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as debt. But to him who doesn't work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. (CLT)  Paul also says: 

Rom 3:22-28 yet a righteousness of God through Jesus Christ's faith, for all, and on all who are believing, for there is no distinction, for all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God. Being justified gratuitously in His grace, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus" (Whom God purposed for a Propitiatory shelter, through faith in His blood, for a display of His righteousness because of the passing over of the penalties of sins which occurred before in the forbearance of God), toward the display of His righteousness in the current era, for Him to be just and a Justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus." Where, then, is boasting? It is debarred! Through what law? Of works? No! But through faith's law. For we are reckoning a man to be justified by faith apart from works of law. (CLT)

When a verdict of not guilty is reached, the accused is deemed not guilty or "justified". Now notice the contrast between what Paul just said and what James says:

James 2:21-26 Abraham, our father, was he not justified by works when offering up his son Isaac on the altar? You are observing that faith worked together with his works, and by works was faith perfected." And fulfilled was the scripture which is saying, Now "Abraham believes God, and it is reckoned to him for righteousness, and he was called "the friend of God."
You see that by works a man is being justified, and not by faith only. Now likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when entertaining the messengers and ejecting them by a different way? For even as the body apart from spirit is dead, thus also faith apart from works is dead." (CLT)

The message to the Gentiles is clear. We are justified by Jesus Christ's faith and justified gratuitously in His grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (KJV)

My friends, if you believe the Good News (evangel), it is not because you did it. 
Romans 11:32 For God has shut up all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all. (WEB) 

It was a free, unmerited gift that He calls GRACE.

Grace be with you!

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